Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

Community What's Happening

Broccoli At WIC Class!

Issue
Shannon and her son, Jackson, were escorted in the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) class at the local WIC office. Shannon glanced at her watch, as she had another appointment in an hour. The nutrition educator began to speak about the importance of fruits and vegetables in the American Diet, and how 91% of children do not eat 5 or more servings each day.

Shannon was puzzled…this wasn’t the usual WIC class… there was a butcher block cutting board in the middle of the room, there was a smiling nutrition educator with a bright apron on, and she was talking about the importance of fruits and vegetables in young children’s diets. The nutrition educator began to talk like she was on the cooking channel! She spoke of how to include more fruits and vegetables in our diets, eating on a budget; and she gave little quips on food safety. Very soon she was dipping out servings of broccoli salad. Shannon had a sample and found she really liked it. She had her son Jackson, try a sample, and he liked it also! She took the recipe home, determined to make it for her family that weekend.

Intervention
Indeed, this is an example of what is happening at the Conway Health Department, part of Region 6’s WIC program. Region 6 received a grant for $4000 from the Eat Smart, Move More Coalition to do a project, which focuses on good nutrition and childhood obesity. Region 6 applied for the grant after learning about the Families Eat Smart Move More curriculum. The curriculum teaches families how to plan and eat more food at home, how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into meals, how to make healthier food choices when eating out and how to include more physical activity into daily life. Registered Dietitians and Nutrition Education Specialists teach the curriculum in weekly WIC classes. These energizing sessions are in three WIC offices in the Region. The Region has also partnered with a physical activity expert from the Conway Recreation Department. Mr. Ashley Smith talks with the clients and tells them about physical activity options in the community. He talks about t-ball, football, cheerleading, to aerobics for moms and babies, and upcoming fun runs and walks! The grant helped fund food supplies for cooking demonstrations and taste testings, as well as incentive items like footballs, kick balls, colanders and salad spinners!

Impact
The classes have been a huge success! Clients have noted their willingness to make positive behavior changes.

  • 86% of participants noted a life style behavior change they would contemplate, as a result of attending a class, such as: prepare and eat more meals at home, order smaller portions when eating out, and/or limit children’s screen time.
  • 1000 WIC participants in Region 6 participated in a Families Eat Smart Move More class.
  • 98 classes were conducted, with 80% of the classes including a food demonstration, taste testing or interaction with a physical activity expert.
  • 20 WIC Professionals in Region 6 were trained on the Families Eat Smart Move More curriculum.
  • Region 6 WIC plans to continue to utilize the curriculum in classes, and to present taste testings and food demonstrations as funding allows.

Contact Information
Anna M. Johnson, MHSA, RD, LD
Nutritionist III, South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control
Conway Health Department
1931 Industrial Park Road
Conway, SC 29526
(843) 915-8817

Karen Leigh Leggett, MS, BS, CFCS, NES
South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control
Conway Health Department
1931 Industrial Park Road
Conway, SC 29526
(843) 915-8816