Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Marsha Spence

Committee Members

Sarah Colby, Katie Kavanagh


Objective: To examine perceived effects of the Willow Comes to WIC program on participants’ fruit- and vegetable-related behaviors and attitudes.Design: Cross-sectional study using focus groups.Setting: 8 WIC sites in 7 states (KS, OR, NJ, WI, GA, IN, NV).Participants: Adult participants (n=62) in Willow Comes to WIC.Phenomenon of interest: Fruit- and vegetable-related behaviors and attitudes (intake, willingness to try, use of cash-value fruit and vegetable vouchers)Analysis: Transcripts were analyzed using content analysis methodology to identify major themes.Results: Many participants reported increased fruit and vegetable intake and/or willingness to try for themselves and/or their children. Several also reported involving children in grocery shopping and meal preparation. Children’s pickiness was reported as a barrier to increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Favorite aspects of Willow Comes to WIC included the Willow puppet and the use of a magnifying glass to examine fruits and vegetables.Conclusions and implications: Participation in Willow Comes to WIC resulted in positive outcomes for many participants that were consistent with existing literature. Opportunities for future research include adapting program recipes for time and simplicity, improving fidelity and consistency among future focus groups, and focusing on program impacts among participants who attended multiple sessions.

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