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The nutritional status and dietary adequacy of single homeless women and their children in shelters.
  • Published Date:
    1992 May-Jun
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 107(3):312-319
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-1.32 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
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  • Description:
    Data were collected on the nutrient intake and nutritional status of 96 single mothers and their 192 dependent children who had been displaced from their homes. The objective of the study was to provide information on the dietary adequacy of a newly identified subgroup of homeless persons, single women and their dependent children. Once situated in temporary housing, those participating in the study indicated that they believed that they were receiving sufficient food. However, a nutrient analysis found that the study subjects in all age groups were consuming less than 50 percent of the 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for iron, magnesium, zinc, and folic acid. Adults were consuming less than 50 percent of the RDA for calcium. The type and amounts of fats consumed were in higher than desirable quantities for a significant number of subjects of all ages. The health risk factors of iron deficiency anemia, obesity, and hypercholesterolemia were prevalent. The findings indicate a need to examine and remedy nutrient intake deficiencies among single women who are heads of household and their dependent children in temporary housing situations. Diet-related conditions found included low nutrient intakes that may affect child growth and development, risk factors associated with chronic disease, and lack of appropriate foods and knowledge of food preparation methods in shelter situations. Applicable, understandable nutrition education should be offered mothers in shelter situations to help them make food choices at the shelter and when they become self-sufficient. Assistance programs such as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and food stamps, should be available to this group.
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