Advertisement

P153 A Homeless Health and Wellness Study

      Background

      Utah State University Extension, Brigham Young University, the Utah Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), and a local homeless resource center, the Food and Care Coalition (FCC), have partnered to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a nutrition and physical activity program aimed to improve behaviors of adults experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness.

      Objective

      Formative research was conducted to identify factors influencing healthy food and physical activity choices among people experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness in Utah. The information obtained was used to modify an adult nutrition education curriculum, Create Better Health, for this specific population.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Trained research assistants conducted semi-structured, in-person interviews with key stakeholders at the FCC. Nine interviews were conducted with FCC's administration/staff (n = 4) and transitional housing residents (n = 5). Interviews lasted about 60 minutes and were audio-recorded and transcribed. Questions included topics of interest for nutrition classes, the structure of transitional housing units, challenges to healthy eating and physical activity, influences on food choices, and local healthy food access.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Transcriptions were independently coded by 4 reviewers with expertise in nutrition, exercise science, and health education. Codes were then compared to identify patterns and overarching themes. Data was used to tailor the Create Better Health curriculum.

      Results

      Preliminary analysis identified emergent themes including: how residents obtain food; barriers to healthy eating, exercise, and obtaining food; food preparation resources and living environment; and ideas for effective program implementation.

      Conclusions

      Formative evaluation is essential to developing effective programming to improve behaviors of specific populations, including those transitioning out of homelessness. Improving dietary and physical activity behaviors may help individuals build a foundation of wellness.
      Funding: Association for Utah Community Health; Community Foundation of Utah.

      Appendix. Supplementary data