Food Acquisition Strategies of Homeless Youth in the Greater Seattle Area: A Cross- Sectional Study.

Citation metadata

Date: Jan. 2021
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 383 words

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Keywords Homeless youth; Street youth; Nutritional status; Food quality; Food assistance Abstract Objectives The aims of this study were to describe how homeless youths access food in the Seattle area, and to describe the nutritional adequacy and quality of food obtained. Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted between February 2018 and May 2019. Data collection took place at seven organizations in the greater Seattle area at which homeless youths typically access food. Trained research assistants verbally administered an ~50-item survey to homeless youths aged 14 to 24 years on their general demographic characteristics, current housing situation, ability to access food, and quantity and quality of foods acquired. Each participant was given $10 at the completion of the survey. Results Participants were 122 homeless youths with an average age of 21.6[plus or minus]1.94 years. During the previous week, 79.3% obtained meals from drop-in centers and 69.8% from a shelter. Most (75.2%) had not utilized a food bank during the previous month. The majority (73.6%) reported having enough food to eat, but not always the kind they wanted, and 75.4% rated the overall nutritional quality of their diet as average or below. Not having enough food or money for food contributed to skipping meals (50.4%), eating less than desired (47.1%), being hungry (45.5%), and losing weight (20.5%). Conclusions Information from this study can be used to identify barriers that homeless youths experience in acquiring adequate nutrition; to make suggestions for future research and program development; and to help social service organizations improve the network of nutrition services and the quality of food available to this vulnerable population through policy, community partnership, and public health action. Author Affiliation: (1) Nutrition and Exercise Science Department, Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA (2) Nutritional Sciences Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA * Address correspondence to: Cristen Harris, PhD, RDN, CSSD, FAND, Nutritional Sciences Program, University of Washington, 305 Raitt Hall, Box 353410, Seattle, WA 98195. Article History: Received 4 February 2020; Accepted 14 May 2020 (footnote) Supplementary materials: and are available at (footnote) STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. (footnote) FUNDING/SUPPORT This study was funded by a Bastyr University Faculty Student Research Grant (award no. H01A11). Byline: June Kloubec, PhD (1), Cristen Harris, PhD, RDN, CSSD, FAND [] (2,*)

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A648869792