197829 Homeless and runaway children in Delhi, India: Food procurement practices, nutrient intake,height and weight status

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:10 PM

Kalyani Raja Singh, PhD , Department of Food and Nutrition, Delhi University, Lady Irwin College, New Delhi, India
Sushma Sharma, PhD , Department of Food and Nutrition, Delhi University, Lady Irwin College (Retired Faculty), New Delhi, India
AIM: Every child has a right to food and nutrition security. Yet homeless and runaway children are denied this basic right. The aim of this study was to assess their food procurement practices, food and nutrient intake, height and weight status in Delhi, India, for recommendation of suitable policy decisions.

METHODOLOGY AND RESULTS: A cross-sectional study was undertaken among 1000 runaway and homeless children (849 boys and 151 girls) aged 6 16 years. Socio-demographic profile, food access, number of meals and dietary pattern was obtained using interviews, 24-hour recall method with Food Frequency Questionnaires. Children accessed food through multiple sources. Girls/older children had more difficulty than boys/younger children for accessing food. Irregular/less than 1-2 meals were eaten by girls (57%) compared to boys (36%). Intake of green leafy vegetables, fruits and milk was dismal. Energy and protein intake could not be met by any of the subjects. Iron, calcium and vitamin A was poor across all age groups. Stunting (24.5%), underweight (21%), anaemia and vitamin A deficiency were seen among the subjects.

CONCLUSION: At present there are inadequate provisions to meet the food and nutrient requirements of homeless children. The Midday Meal program targeting school children must be expanded to include out of school children such as homeless children or other food delivery programs must be planned for this vulnerable population.

Learning Objectives:
1. List the techniques for height and weight measurements of homeless children and its interpretation 2. Assess the nutritional adequacy of diets of homeless children

Keywords: Homeless, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Research work on homeless and runaway children in Dehi, India
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.