Food Assistance Program Participation and Infant Growth and Health

Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, Harvard University
Daphne C Hernandez, Pennsylvania State University

This study examines the relationship between Food Stamp program and WIC participation and infant children’s health outcomes using the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being study. We test the association between participation during the child’s first year of life and mother-rated child health, child weight-for-age when the child is about one-year old, and whether the child was ever breastfed. Logistic regression results suggest that WIC participation after birth is negatively associated with ever breastfeeding. Future analyses will consider different associations across SES, will examine additional children’s health outcomes, as well as use propensity score matching techniques as a mechanism to account for selection bias. Little is known about the influence of food assistance participation on young children’s health and well-being. Given that the end goal of food assistance programs is to improve the well-being of low income families, an examination of their role in influences young children’s development is sorely needed.

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Presented in Session 159: Improving child health in developed and developing countries