High prevalence of overweight and obesity among homeless individuals with mental illness in Toronto, Canada
Monday, November 2, 2015
: 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
Little is known about the prevalence of overweight and obesity among homeless individuals. Cross-sectional analysis was conducted on baseline data from the Toronto site of the At Home/Chez Soi Study. From October 2009 to July 2011, homeless adults with mental illness (n=575), were measured for weight and height using a standardized protocol, completed in-person socio-demographic and behavioral survey, food security questionnaire, and were and assessed for severity of problems due to substance use (GAIN Short Screener). We conducted multivariate logistic regression analyses to examine the association between prevalence of overweight and obesity calculated from body mass index (BMI) and socio-demographic characteristics, food security and problems due to substance use. Nearly half (48.8%) of the sample were either overweight or obese (BMI≥25), and more than a fifth (21.8%) had BMIs in the obese range (BMI≥30). Reduced risk for overweight and obesity was associated with problems due to substance use (OR=0.39, 95%CI:0.24-0.64, P<0.001), and Asian ethnicity (OR=0.33,95%CI: 0.13-0.82, P=0.016). These findings underscore the need for greater attention to obesity among homeless adults with mental illness and confirm the food insecurity-obesity paradox in this population. Special attention should be given to homeless individuals who are of normal weight; these individuals may experience a greater burden of problems due to substance use and may suffer from co-morbidities and possible nutritional deficiencies.
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Demonstrate and discuss the implications of high prevalence of obesity among homeless individuals and the association between substance use and obesity.
Keyword(s): Obesity, Homelessness
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Kaufman-Shriqui is a researcher with training in epidemiology, public health, biochemistry and nutrition, and is a registered dietitian. She is working to better understand and support intersectional action to reduce inequities in health, and health disparities related to nutrition.
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.