Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Education Study
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on the proposed collection of data for the WIC Nutrition Education Study. This is a NEW information collection. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Through Federal grants to States, WIC provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non- breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children who are found to be at nutritional risk. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-296, Sec. 305) mandates programs under its authorization, including WIC, to cooperate with USDA program research and evaluation activities. WIC's mission is to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care. Nutrition education is the program feature often viewed as pivotal to WIC's success in achieving its mission to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children. By Federal directive, all participants have the opportunity to participate in nutrition education at least two times during a 6-month period of eligibility or quarterly for a 12-month period. State and local WIC agencies have significant flexibility to design nutrition education appropriate for the demographics of their participants within established goals. This flexibility has yielded a range of messages, delivery systems and approaches, qualifications and training for educators, and quality. The WIC Nutrition Education Study will provide a nationally representative description of how nutrition education is currently being provided to WIC recipients across the country. It will also conduct a pilot study of the impact of nutrition education on WIC recipients' nutrition and physical activity behaviors. This study will provide FNS with a better understanding of nutrition education practices and methods used by WIC and of the effectiveness of current WIC nutrition education services. The study will document how nutrition education is being provided subsequent to several program changes, including the 2009 food package changes, the implementation of the initiative to Revitalize Quality Nutrition Services (RQNS), and the use of new technology, among a racially and ethnically diverse population. Understanding optimal educational topics and methods, how to maximize participant engagement, the best approaches for delivery and reinforcement of messages, and how to effectively prepare and support WIC nutrition educators is key to informing WIC nutrition education improvements.