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Effect of Heart Buttons counseling on WIC infant feeding practices

Sauer, Sarah
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal assistance program addressing the healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five in both States and Tribes. Not only is WIC effective at improving the health of those it serves, but it is also one of the nation's most successful and practical nutrition intervention programs as supported by studies conducted by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (Women, Infants, and Children, 2015). Obesity prevalence is increasing in the United States and is largely comorbid with other chronic conditions. Appropriate infant feeding practices are thought to counteract this and are believed to reduce an infant's later risk of obesity and disease. The Women, Infants and Children program administered by a Native American tribe in Oklahoma developed and implemented the Heart Buttons educational strategy in order to facilitate meaningful connections as part of nutritional counseling with the goal of increasing appropriate WIC infant feeding practices in participating mothers. The purpose of this project was to determine the effectiveness of the Heart Button educational strategy on infant feeding practices related to obesity prevention over the first six months of life. One significant difference in breast and/or bottle-feeding practices was observed between mothers receiving the Heart Buttons education versus those receiving the traditional educational strategy in this data collection from the survey administered at the initial infant certification visit.