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Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan

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Research

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Special Delivery: A Community-Academic Partnership to Improve the Health of Low-Income Young Mothers and their Children

The goal of this project is to assess the feasibility of using grocery delivery to strengthen services related to the special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by improving access to and use of food benefits during pregnancy. Grocery delivery, a well-established and inexpensive service, removes logistical barriers to obtaining healthy foods but is underused by low-income populations. The objective of this work is to evaluate whether young pregnant women want and are able to order WIC-covered foods online (feasibility/acceptability) and whether doing so impacts their diet and weight gain during pregnancy. The researchers hypothesize that online ordering of WIC-covered foods will be convenient and will increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. These findings will provide critical evidence to the USDA and State WIC agencies on the impact of expanding online ordering of groceries to include WIC beneficiaries as it currently only allows for some SNAP (food stamp) beneficiaries. 

The aims of this project are two-fold. Firstly, researchers will examine the feasibility and acceptability of online ordering of WIC-covered foods measured by both: 1) the number of young pregnant women who are successfully able to independently order online, and by 2) interviews to assess their satisfaction with the process. Secondly, using text message surveys and automated home scales, researchers will assess the impact of food delivery on diet quality and weight gain during pregnancy among young pregnant women age 14-24 years of age, living in three Michigan counties: Genesee, Wayne, and Washtenaw. 

Gayathri Akella, Washtenaw County Health Department WIC
Tammy Chang, University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine
Marika Waselewski, University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine