Demographic and nutritional characteristics of infants who are medicaid births compared to non-medicaid births in a Kansas WIC population



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Kansas State University


Nutritionally vulnerable women are more apt to give birth to low birth weight, small for gestational babies who have increased medical complications and higher risk of mortality. Participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) prenatally has been found to enhance positive pregnancy outcomes for women; reduced risk of low birth weights and nutrient deficiencies thus reducing the costs associated with medical care for infants covered by Medicaid, the joint federal and state insurance program for low income women, which covers 40% of infants in the United States. Pregnant women covered by Medicaid insurance are normally at the most risk but are adjunct eligible for the WIC program. This descriptive cross-sectional research study determined the demographic and nutritional characteristics of Medicaid births in the WIC program compared to non-Medicaid births for the 2009 WIC program year, using the Kansas birth certificate, WIC program data linked to the birth certificate by unique identifying code.
Results from the study show that the Kansas WIC and Medicaid programs are serving the target population for the objectives of the programs. Mothers of Medicaid births who received WIC food during pregnancy and those in the WIC program are of low socioeconomic status and they are more likely to be younger in age, of minority racial group, less educated, never married and less likely to breastfeed infants at discharge and high likelihood of smoking. Compared to Medicaid births that did not participate in the WIC program, women at the lower margins of low socioeconomic status participated in WIC, signaling that the most vulnerable were getting the needed services.
Distinct findings from the Kansas WIC program reveal that Medicaid births in the WIC program were more likely to be breastfed at discharge, compared to Medicaid births not in the WIC program, even though WIC recipients had demographic characteristics associated with low breastfeeding patterns. A study investigating the reasons for not enrolling in WIC by Kansas Department of Health would be beneficial to the WIC program’s goal to provide nutrition support to low income eligible women, infants and children in Kansas.



WIC, Infant nutrition, Medicaid

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Master of Public Health


Department of Human Nutrition

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Sandra B. Procter