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Food Sources for Homeless Youth: An Evaluation of Food Availability at a Homeless Youth Drop-In Center

Author:
Yarcusko, Emily, Slesnick, Natasha, Hatsu, Irene
Source:
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.1 pp. 91-95
ISSN:
1499-4046
Subject:
candy, food availability, inventories, meat, questionnaires, vegetables, youth
Abstract:
We utilized a validated food inventory questionnaire to assess the types and quality of food available at a homeless youth drop-in center.Scores for 13 food categories were computed; higher scores indicated a greater availability of foods found in that category. A summative score was computed to assess the presence of obesogenic foods.Dry cereal, vegetables, and meat, were the most available foods; 83.3%, 60.9%, and 56.3% of food items in each category, respectively, were available. The food categories with least available items included candy and dairy: 26.6% and 25.4% of items in those categories, respectively. Mean obesogenic food availability score was 31 ± 4.2 (range 23–34), out of a possible score of 71.It is possible for a drop-in center to provide healthful foods to homeless youth. Further studies examining the extent to which drop-in centers contribute to the homeless youth food environment are warranted.