The Duke-UNC USDA Center For Behavioral Economics And Healthy Food Choice Research (BECR) is under the direction of Dr. Matthew Harding, an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University. BECR strives to apply behavioral economics approaches to influence healthier food choices in the US population. With the adoption of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program provides an unprecedented opportunity for researchers to study participants' redemption and healthy behaviors. However, due to the segmented administration of the WIC program across 90 WIC agencies, significant barriers exist to conduct WIC-related research. This talk introduces strategies to tap into the opportunities while overcoming the challenges from a researcher's perspective. Examples will be given from three inter-related ongoing projects: Brand choices among WIC participants; How to use text messages to promote participants' fresh fruit and vegetable redemptions; and How to evaluate the smartphone app impact on WIC participants' redemption behavior and health outcomes.
[Image courtesy Vincent van der Pas via Flickr/CC. Used with a Creative Commons license.]