Nutritional Deficiencies among Youth Experiencing Homelessness

PI, Dr. Irene Hatsu, OSU, Human Nutrition –

An important challenge of homelessness is access to food, which mediates nutritional and other health outcomes. Optimal nutrition is fundamental to the biological, biochemical and physiological functioning of the human body. As such, nutritional vulnerabilities can cause disruptions in such processes, contributing to the initiation and/or exacerbation of disease conditions. In fact, poor diet quality and nutrient consumption patterns can create deficiencies and subsequent biochemical, and metabolic imbalances, leading to the susceptibility of conditions such as infections, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cognitive dysfunction. This study tested youths’ access to food and nutritional deficiencies. Findings showed that the food offered at STAR House provides a good range of nutrients and youth’s nutritional deficiencies may have been mitigated by Star House food availability.

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