Evaluating Healthy Growth Among WIC Infants: A Qualitative Review

Angela Valencia and Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health have initiated a collaborative research approach with El Rio Community Health Center to address childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem affecting 10% of 2 year olds and > 20% of 5 year olds and even higher percentages of Hispanics and Native Americans. The overall objective of this project was to assess knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of WIC staff and WIC moms regarding weight perceptions for infants and toddlers. Another objective was to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of growth charts as a tool to monitor infants’ growth longitudinally. They used a mixed-method that included quantitative questionnaires and qualitative interviews with WIC staff and focus groups with WIC moms. Their preliminary assessment has concluded that an educational intervention teaching mothers how to plot and interpret growth using growth charts is acceptable and feasible. Whether such efforts will prevent excess weight gain in early childhood is yet to be determined.