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Diarrheal Illness among Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program Participants in Miami, Florida: Implications for Nutrition Education
- Davila, Evelyn P., Trepka, Mary Jo, Newman, Frederick L., Huffman, Fatma G., Dixon, Zisca
- Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2009 v.41 no.6 pp. 420-424
- diarrhea, mothers, nutrition education, pregnant women, food contamination, disease prevention, home food preparation, hand washing, WIC Program, children, infant nutrition, maternal nutrition, foodborne illness, food sanitation, child nutrition, infants, Florida
- Objective: To assess risk factors for diarrheal illness among clients of a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic in Miami, FL. Design: A cross-sectional survey with questions about demographics, food safety practices, and diarrheal illness. Setting: WIC clinic operated by the Miami-Dade County Health Department in Florida. WIC is a national program for nutritionally at-risk, low-income young children and pregnant or postpartum women. Participants: WIC female clients at least 18 years of age who are able to read and speak English (n = 299). Main Outcome Measure: Diarrheal illness, defined as having at least 3 loose stools for 2 or more consecutive days during the previous 30 days. Analysis: Univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses. Results: Food safety behaviors significantly associated with diarrheal illness included not washing hands before preparing meals (P = .048) and baby bottles (P = .045) or after changing diapers (P = .009) and not washing all items that touched raw meat before preparing the next food item (P = .023). In general, pregnant women reported less frequent hand washing and had a lower food safety score than nonpregnant women (P = .002). Conclusions and Implications: These findings suggest that interventions to improve food handling practices such as proper hand washing are needed for WIC clients, particularly pregnant women.