A Mixed-Methods Analysis of a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and Primary Care Partnership to Promote Responsive Feeding for Infants in Group Well-Child Care

Published:January 01, 2023DOI:



      To evaluate the Healthy Eating through Group Well-Child Care (GWCC) intervention, a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and primary care partnership which seeks to promote responsive feeding practices among low-income caregivers, by examining its impact on infant growth and exploring the experiences of caregivers who participated in this intervention.


      Using a difference-in-differences approach, we examined change in weight-for-length among infants in GWCC before versus after implementation of the intervention compared with infants in individual well-child care (IWCC) over the same time-period. In parallel, we conducted semi-structured interviews in English and Spanish with caregivers who participated in the intervention to explore their perspectives and analyzed transcripts via the constant comparative method to identify salient themes.


      Using electronic health record data from 279 GWCC and 6134 IWCC participants, we found no significant difference in first-year weight-for-length trajectory associated with participation in the intervention. We reached thematic saturation after 19 interviews with 22 caregivers and identified four major themes around feeding: 1) structural barriers limit access to healthy foods through WIC, 2) conflicting sources of nutrition advice challenge parental decision making, 3) exposure to novel foods facilitated further experimentation with healthier foods, and 4) discussion of responsive feeding facilitated awareness and adoption.


      A primary care and WIC partnership to promote responsive feeding in the context of GWCC was well received by caregivers but was not associated with improved weight-for-length among infants. Structural barriers to implementing responsive feeding and healthy eating practices may have impacted lack of measurable results from the intervention.


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