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WIC Participation and Blood Lead Levels among Children 1–5 Years: 2007–2014
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  • Alternative Title:
    Environ Health Perspect
  • Description:

    The CDC recommends a targeted strategy for childhood blood lead screening based on participation in federal programs, such as Medicaid and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Yet, there is scarcity of data on blood lead levels (BLLs) among WIC participants.


    Our objective was to investigate whether children participating in WIC and not enrolled in Medicaid, who have not been targeted in the historical Medicaid-focused screening strategy, have higher BLLs than children in neither of these programs.


    The analysis included 3,180 children 1–5 y of age in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted in 2007–2014. Log-binomial regression, which allows direct estimation of prevalence ratios, was used to examine associations between WIC participation (in conjunction with Medicaid enrollment) and having BLLs ≥5μg/dL with adjustment for age (1–2 vs. 3–5 y).


    The percentage of children participating in “WIC only,” “Medicaid only,” “both WIC and Medicaid,” and “neither” were 18.9%, 10.8%, 25.4%, and 44.9%, respectively. “WIC only,” “Medicaid only,” and “both WIC and Medicaid” children were more likely to have BLLs ≥5μg/dL than children who were not enrolled in either program, with adjusted prevalence ratios of 3.29 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.19, 9.09], 4.56 (95% CI: 2.18, 9.55), and 2.58 (95% CI: 1.18, 5.63).


    Children participating in WIC but not Medicaid were more likely to have BLLs ≥5μg/dL than children who were not enrolled in either program. These findings may inform public health recommendations and clinical practice guidelines. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP2384

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