In US, many homeless people are obese
New research by Oxford University and Harvard Medical School has found that obesity is just as common among the homeless as it is among the general non-homeless population.
The study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Urban Health, suggests this could be because cheap foods that are instantly satisfying often contain high levels of fats and sugars.
Another reason could be that bodies experiencing chronic food shortages adapt by storing fat reserves, a release from the University of Oxford said.
Researchers examined the body mass index (BMI) data of 5,632 homeless men and women in Boston, and found that nearly one-third of them were obese.
They used the medical electronic records at 80 hospital and shelter sites for the homeless in Boston, using data from the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, one of the largest adult homeless study populations reported to date.
They found that just 1.6 per cent of the homeless in the sample could be classed as "underweight".
Morbid obesity - where people are 50 per cent-100 per cent above their ideal body weight - was three times more common with 5.6 per cent of homeless adults classed as morbidly obese.
The study authors also compared the BMI of the US homeless adults with 5,555 non-homeless adults, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
They found that obesity amongst the homeless (32.3 per cent) was almost as high as
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