Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 43
Strengthen data collection and disaggregation within WIC
As mentioned earlier, gaps in research and data prevent researchers from analyzing the impact of WIC on women, infants,
and children of various races and ethnicities. WIC would benefit from strengthening data collection and disaggregation within
WIC could begin this process with these actions:
• Create a mechanism for collecting and reporting data in a centralized way. It is difficult to find national data on the
impact of WIC on recipients that is broken down by race and ethnicity. Some state-level studies provide this data, but
collecting and reporting it is not required and there is no way of centralizing it.
• Collect and report more detailed and nuanced data on race and ethnicity. WIC reporting does not include enough
options for race and ethnicity to capture all the information needed to create an effective plan to strengthen racial equity.
For example, there is no separate category for people who identify as Latino/a, so the majority are counted as part of the
white demographic. Another example is that there is no disaggregated data on Asian ethnicities (e.g., Thai, Burmese,
Japanese), yet there are wide variations in food insecurity rates among people of Asian descent. Recent data on Native
Hawaiians was difficult to find, perhaps because of the small population size.
• Collect and report disaggregated data on a larger number of indicators. The Office of Management and Budget, which
sets federal data collection policy, should require WIC to provide data that is disaggregated by race and ethnicity for all
the main categories of indicators tracked, such as birth outcomes, infant health, weight at birth, and so forth. Top priority
should be given to detailed data on breastfeeding initiation rates and breastfeeding duration rates, since breastfeeding is a
very important intervention with a short window of opportunity for any given newborn.
• Conduct additional research. Topics where additional research will help WIC apply a racial equity lens throughout its
Impact of culturally sensitive breastfeeding supports in eliminating racial breastfeeding divides
Impact of Breastfeeding Food Package Incentive on breastfeeding rates
Peer-to-Peer Breastfeeding Program Impact on breastfeeding rates
Impact of WIC food packages on improved nutrition rates (anemia, obesity, etc.)
Impact of WIC on maternal and infant mortality racial divides
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