One-Third of US Homeless Population is Obese, According to New Study

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New research by Oxford University and Harvard Medical School, soon to be published in the Journal of Urban Health, suggests that 32.3 percent of the homeless population in the United States is obese — just slightly below the national average. The findings underscore what is referred to as "the hunger-obesity paradox," which refers to the phenomenon of people who suffer from hunger but — for reasons attributed to the high cost and relative inaccessibility of nutritious food and the low cost and relative ease of finding poor-quality food — are also obese.

Barbara DiPietro, the policy director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, finds the results of this research largely unsurprising. Andrea De Mink, the founder and executive of the Indianapolis-based homelessness organization The PourHouse, deals on a daily basis with the most pressing concerns of homeless people, striving to offer her patrons with food that is as healthy as possible.


Andrea De Mink and Barbara DiPietro

Produced by:

Ben Gottlieb

Comments [2]

homebuilding from oklahoma city

shelf life; shelf life; shelf life !

Homeless folks are not going to keep green beans in their purses or lettuce in the pockets.

"Excess" from grocery stores, restaurants, and bakeries is far more likely to be high carb items that can last a few days or weeks.

The "healthier" prepared food that's donated to 'soup kitchens' is consumed quickly and church pantries often have more pasta, rice, oatmeal, baked bread, and flour than the higher protein items that must be consumed soon after preparation.

Remember, very poor folks don't have refrigerators, so something that will last a couple of days is of more value to them.

Lastly, there is far more 'welfare money' available in the form of food stamps than rent vouchers or monthly cash support.

It's no wonder that the rate of obesity would trend upward with this population.

Now, if we had a more pedestrian and bicycling friendly environment.....
my bet would change

May. 25 2012 11:49 AM

This has to be in the top five OUT OF TOUCH interviews ever conducted. Soup kitchens provide high calorie meals for a purpose. The vast majority of those eating there are addicts for whom food is not a priority. Their urine is black, not because of excess calories, but excess alcohol. Homelessness is growing, but here in NYC at least homeless families are not left on the street. The homeless population sleeping on the street is doing so by choice. Shelters all have very minimum standards of behavior that these individuals choose not to adhere to.
What needs investigating is who is funding this absurd research that is keeping these Whole Food do-goods rolling in their organic lettuce. Hopefully it is not tax dollars. Funding would better aid the mentally ill, alcoholic and junkie population that are the core homeless with additional rehabs and psych beds rather than organic grilled chicken.

May. 23 2012 09:24 AM

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