• Nutrition in Phoenix Metropolitan Area Homeless Youth

      Burnett, Greg; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Appelhans, Brad (The University of Arizona., 2011-03)
      Homeless youth are a large, poorly characterized population of the United States [1, 2]. Though over seven percent of American youth aged twelve to seventeen years experienced homelessness last year, there is a paucity of data regarding their general condition and health status. This study was undertaken to describe the adequacy of nutritional intake of homeless youth in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Interviews were conducted with 71 homeless youth aged 16 to 21 years (44 male, 27 female) who were recruited from homeless youth drop-in centers and outdoor public areas. A standardized 24 hour dietary recall was utilized during the interview to gather nutritional data, which was analyzed against Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). Overall results demonstrated a slight excess of caloric and macronutrient intakes; though intakes of several micronutrients were deficient. Over one third of participants consumed less than 50% of the DRI for folate, calcium and zinc; 42% consumed under 50% of the DRI for vitamin C, and 63% consumed under 50% of the DRI for vitamin A. Upon further analysis, statistically significant difference in iron intake was found between male and female participants. Statistically significant difference in fat, iron, and zinc intake was also found between participants recruited from differing locations. In comparison to 2007-2008 data reported in the WWEIA/ NHANES study, participants in this study consumed more calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat [3]. Participants from both studies consumed insufficient vitamin A quantities; female participants from both studies consumed insufficient calcium. Interstingly, mean iron intake was low for female WWEIA/ NHANES data, but at DRI for study participants. Further surveys of a larger number of participants may be warranted, especially considering the significant skew and non-normal distribution of the nutritional intake data from this study. This study does find inadequate micronutrient intake in homeless despite the fact that they are consuming more than enough macronutrients (calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat). These inadequacies could potentially contribute to poorer health in these youth.