Food Assistance:

Research Provides Limited Information on the Effectiveness of Specific WIC Nutrition Services

GAO-01-442: Published: Mar 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 2001.


Robert E. Robertson
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Despite methodological limitations, demonstration studies provide program managers and policymakers with some useful information on the types of Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition service interventions that can have positive results for participants. However, only one recent demonstration study provides any information on the costs associated with implementing various interventions. Given the limited resources available to provide WIC nutrition services, information on the costs to provide effective services could play a critical role in managers' decisions to implement the intervention and policymakers' decisions on funding the intervention.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: In order to maximize the value of nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referral service demonstration and evaluation research funded by the Department of Agriculture, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct officials responsible for implementing such research to require that this research include an assessment of the costs associated with the special intervention being evaluated.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USDA submitted a statement of action dated April 20, 2001. USDA stated that they agreed in principle with the recommendation and recognized that information on costs is a critical component of assessing program performance. Taking into account the limited availability of evaluation resources, USDA will endeavor to obtain the cost information whenever it is practical to do so.

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