Nutrient Intake of Women Experiencing Homelessness in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AbstractPURPOSE: Despite the potential for hunger, the homeless population has a similar prevalence of overweight/obese as other Americans. The purpose of this study was to determine the characteristics of the diet of homeless women in the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids, MI. SUBJECTS: Female residents (n = 16) at Degage Ministries’ Open Door program. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Demographics and food security information were collected from residents. Nutrient intake was measured with three 24-hour recalls from 16 participants. ANALYSES: Medians ± interquartile ranges were used to describe energy, macronutrient, and sodium intakes. Means ± standard deviations were used to describe continuous characteristics and frequencies were used to describe discrete characteristics in this sample. RESULTS: The majority of the study participants were 50-59 years old and predominantly African American/Black. Most of the women had an annual income of less than $10,000 and 68.7% of the population had low food or very low security. The median daily fruit and vegetable servings were 0.83 (1.1) and 3.1 (1.2), respectively. Median daily sodium intake was 3,594.1mg (1,094.4) and the median calorie intake for the participants was 2,218.9kcal (1,283.6). The median portion of calories from carbohydrates, protein, saturated fatty acids and fat was 49.4%, 12.5%, 12.2%, and 38.9%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This sample of homeless women in Grand Rapids, MI suffered from low or very low levels of food security. Their diets contained an overabundance of fat, carbohydrates, sodium, and saturated fatty acids and lacked adequate daily fruit and vegetable intake.