Does Breastfeeding Initiation Vary by WIC Participation and Race/Ethnicity? An Examination of Long-Term Trends from 2009-2017

On January 11, 2023, NCCOR will host a Connect & Explore webinar that explored “Breastfeeding Initiation Trends by WIC Participation and Race/Ethnicity Among Medicaid Births,” a research study soon to appear in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The webinar provided a first hand look at the long-term breastfeeding initiation trends by prenatal WIC participation. The paper used birth certificate data from a sample of 24 states over the period 2009-2017 to examine trends in breastfeeding initiation among WIC-participating women on Medicaid compared to those not on WIC. The large number of women included in the dataset allowed the assessment of trends among different population groups including American Indian/Alaska Natives and Asian/Pacific Islanders. This unique information supports current efforts to improve breastfeeding, a protective factor against childhood obesity, among women from diverse groups that participate in WIC programs. Amanda Reat, with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, also discussed how WIC is working to promote breastfeeding and reduce breastfeeding disparities.


  • Marie Elizabeth Thoma, PhD, MHS, University of Maryland
  • Amanda Reat, PhD, RD, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Joanne Guthrie, PhD, MPH, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Leslie Hodges, PhD, MA, U.S. Department of Agriculture
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