Document Detail

The impact of homeless shelters on food access and choice among homeless families in Minnesota.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16595288     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: To determine how and where homeless families access food, and to determine factors that influence food choice.
DESIGN: Seven focus groups (90 minutes each) were conducted by two moderators and audio-taped.
SETTING: Two homeless shelters serving families.
PARTICIPANTS: Fifty-three parents or guardians (M = 11; F = 42) with children 3-12 years of age. Most participants had completed high school or higher education.
PHENOMENON OF INTEREST: Food choice and food access among homeless families.
ANALYSIS: Transcripts evaluated for consistency, coded, and evaluated for dominant themes.
RESULTS: Limited cooking and storage space, and poor meal timing and food options at the shelters resulted in participants developing strategies to alleviate hunger. Strategies used to obtain food included using food stamps, stealing food, eating food in grocery stores, pawning personal items, using savvy shopping habits, scavenging in dumpsters (obtaining items such as food from dumpsters), and sacrificing food for children.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Homeless families find strategies to prevent food insecurity. Food stamp usage is a common strategy, but it often is insufficient to meet monthly needs, indicating the need for reevaluation of program components. The shelter environment's impact on families' food choices suggests a role for nutritionists in ensuring availability of adequate, nutritious foods. Future research is needed to evaluate the impact of the shelter environment on homeless families' overall nutritional status.
Rickelle Richards; Chery Smith
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of nutrition education and behavior     Volume:  38     ISSN:  1499-4046     ISO Abbreviation:  J Nutr Educ Behav     Publication Date:    2006 Mar-Apr
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-04-05     Completed Date:  2006-05-30     Revised Date:  2011-08-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101132622     Medline TA:  J Nutr Educ Behav     Country:  Canada    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  96-105     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Child, Preschool
Cooking / instrumentation,  methods
Food / standards
Food Handling / instrumentation,  methods
Food Preservation / methods
Food Services / utilization*
Food Supply*
Homeless Persons*
Nutritional Status

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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