Date of Award

Summer 7-12-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anita Nucci, PhD, RD, LD

Second Advisor

Catherine McCarroll, MPH, RD, LD

Third Advisor

Murugi Ndirangu, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Delia Baxter, PhD, RD, LD


Mothers of low socioeconomic status are less likely to breastfeed and more likely to formula feed. In addition, low socioeconomic status is associated with a premature introduction of cow’s milk, juice and solid foods. Negative outcomes such as asthma, diabetes and obesity later in life may result from improper child feeding practices. The aim of this study was to determine if WIC participants in Gwinnett County, Georgia are practicing child feeding recommendations set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as well as following the Division of Responsibility in feeding developed by Ellyn Satter. Ninety-six WIC participants (92% mothers) primarily African American (39%) and Hispanic (35%) from Gwinnett County, Georgia were surveyed in March of 2011. Participants completed one of three surveys based on their method of feeding (breastfeeding, formula feeding or solid foods) after a nutrition education class. Compliance to feeding recommendations was determined among the entire survey population and by survey subgroups. Frequency distributions by method of feeding were calculated by age and race. Trends in feeding practices and the feeding environment were determined. Ten percent of participants surveyed reported breastfeeding, 22% reported formula feeding and 68% reported feeding solid foods. Participants who were not following AAP guidelines reported that they received advice primarily from health care professionals. Our results are consistent with previous research in that breastfeeding rates were low, the introduction of solids was early, and caregivers reported controlling feeding behaviors. Future research should focus on understanding the child feeding practices and beliefs of health care professionals.