Exploring the nutritional vulnerability of homeless solvent and non-solvent using men in a Canadian urban setting

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D'Andreamatteo, Carla
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This research aimed to explore the nutritional vulnerability of homeless adult men. Using a mixed methods approach, risk factors for chronic illness, food security status, dietary intake adequacy, and how the study participants navigate the food supply system to obtain food were investigated. This study assessed differences in nutrition vulnerability between participants that use solvents and those that do not. The findings reveal that all participants were nutritionally vulnerable. A majority was overweight or obese; nearly all experienced food insecurity; and most did not meet the daily food intake guidelines established by Canada’s Food Guide. Daily efforts by participants to obtain food from charitable meal programs helped to meet physiological needs, as well as social, economic, safety and security needs. Participants using solvents had different nutritional and food experiences than non-solvent users. This was identified by a higher prevalence of severe food insecurity and social exclusion compared to non-solvent using homeless participants. This study provides important information to program planners and policy-makers necessary in order to help meet the food and nutritional needs of adult homeless populations. Findings may be translated into policies and programs aimed at improving accessibility to healthy foods.
food security, homeless, determinants of health, nutrition