food insecure, homeless, soup kitchen, obesity


The double burden of suboptimal nutrient intake and obesity exists when available foods lack essential nutrients to promote health and provide high amounts of energy. This study evaluated the nutrition content of 41 meals served to the homeless at 3 urban soup kitchens. The mean nutrient content of all meals and of meals from each of the kitchens was compared to two-thirds of the estimated average requirement (EAR). The mean nutrient content of the meals did not provide two-thirds of the EAR for energy, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, dietary fiber, or calcium but provided 11.8% of calories from saturated fat. On average one meal did not meet homeless individuals’ estimated requirements; however, 2 meals did meet estimated requirements but provided inadequate fiber and high amounts of energy, saturated fat, and sodium. Soup kitchen meals may contribute to the high prevalence of obesity and chronic disease reported in the homeless, food insecure population.

Original Citation

Sisson, L. G., & Lown, D. A. (2011). Do Soup Kitchen Meals Contribute to Suboptimal Nutrient Intake & Obesity in the Homeless Population? Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition.