A survey of parents of overweight children in the WIC program
Obeidat, Bayan Ahmed
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A valid and reliable survey was developed and conducted to identify the difference between children ages 2 to 5 participating in the Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program whose nutritional risk of overweight persisted (remained overweight) versus those whose condition resolved (shifted from overweight to normal weight) after at least three re-certifications in the program. The purpose of the survey was to provide an in-depth analysis on the possible contributors to these differences. The questions in the survey included categories based on demographic characteristics, feeding practices, beliefs, knowledge, current lifestyle and eating behaviors, and a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The survey was administered to a randomly selected sample of parents/guardians of WIC children from the eleven health regions in Texas. Out of 1,000 surveys, 445 surveys were completed, 46% by parents/guardians of children in the overweight persistent group and 54% by parents/guardians of children in the non-persistent group. The survey showed some differences in the demographic characteristics between the children who remained overweight versus those whose condition resolved after participation in the WIC program. Other differences were seen in lifestyle and eating patterns of the child, and parental perceptions about the child and participation in the WIC program. The survey also identified predictors of parental perceptions among those who remained overweight. These findings will assist WIC staff in planning more effective intervention strategies to improve the weight status in this population.