1 in 3 is obese - even the homeless
May 25th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

1 in 3 is obese - even the homeless

Obesity is a widespread epidemic, even among the homeless.

While the popularized image of a homeless individual is one of skin and bones, a new study shows the reality is not so. One in three (32.3%) homeless individuals in the United States is obese, highlighting a hunger-obesity paradox.

The paradox is that hunger and obesity can exist in the same person. And although a person may be overweight or obese, he or she can lack proper nutrition.

Nutrition is a daily challenge for homeless people, as the foods they manage to get are often full of preservatives and high in sodium, fats and sugars.  They may not have access to healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s the lowest socio-economic group who has the biggest obesity problem,” said Paul Montgomery, one of the authors of the study published in the Journal of Urban Health.  “No one looked at the homeless problem before.  What we found was this group has a significant obesity problem that wasn’t known.”

The obesity rate in a sample of 5,632 homeless adults seen at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program was similar to that seen in the general population.

“It just mirrors what Americans look like in general,” said Barbara Dipietro, policy director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. “It follows the homeless in general. They are more economically driven. They are intact families and people who are coming into homelessness, who don’t come with behavioral health issues. When we look at the homeless population, we think they’re different, but they’re like everyone else.”

Two out of three homeless individuals were either overweight or obese. The study found that 32.6% were normal weight and that 1.6% was underweight.

“Although underweight has been traditionally associated with homelessness, this study suggests that obesity may have replaced underweight as the new malnutrition of the homeless,” the authors wrote.

The researchers found that 5.6% of this population were morbidly obese, meaning they had BMIs greater than 40.  A 250-pound man who stands at 5 feet and 7 inches would have a BMI of 40. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight; a BMI over 30 is obese.

In further analyses, homeless women (42.8%) were more likely to be obese than homeless men (29.7%).

“Our results are in line with [the] hunger-obesity paradox,” said Montgomery. “People feel hungry. The body’s response is the higher calories, you store them and become obese, and you still feel hungry. It’s a circular problem.”

The human body might be hoarding calories, as an adaptive response when people do not consistently have enough to eat. The body’s response could contribute to obesity, by “becoming more efficient at storing more calories as fat,” according to the report.  Also, people who are homeless are more likely to suffer from a lack of sleep and high stress, which contribute to obesity.

When it comes to food choices, they do not have many. Even if they had fresh vegetables and fruits, they have to way to store them or prepare them.

“Homeless people don’t have the ability to choose,” said Dipietro. “They eat what they’re given. When you’re moneyless, you don’t have a stove or fridge. You don’t have a place to store food or prepare it. Everything you buy is easy-to-go, that you can store in the bag for later - that’s high in preservatives like canned foods.”

The kinds of foods served at soup kitchens are designed to feed the masses at a cheap, low price, she added.

“Nutritious food is really expensive compared to other food choices,” she said. “If you’re living on food stamps, on disability or safety net, or living on nothing, that’s the food you’re going to have to get.  A salad is not in the cards.”

Some people are inclined to buy a homeless person a meal rather than give them money. This obesity issue shouldn’t deter those people from reaching out, she said.

“If you want to take them to McDonald’s and buy them a Big Mac, that’s not the difference between obesity and health,” she said. “You can buy them a salad. There are even options at McDonald’s. If someone was willing to create a connection to take them a buy a cup of coffee, that connecting with someone is the important piece.  At the individual level, you’re not making a difference in health in one meal.”

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soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. das

    Silly article. I thnk the homeless have more to worry about than obesity.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      You're quite right, they most definitely do. I think the article is trying to shed light on the fact that the American view on Obesity is not as cut and dry as we like to think it is. If it was simply a matter of calories in vs calories out, or if malnutrition always meant you had to be underweight, our homeless would not be heavy.

      May 25, 2012 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • Myron

      calories in vs calories out still stands true. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Laws of thermodynamics.

      You cannot store fat when you're in an energy deficit. It if were true, children in africa would never die of hunger as they would get fatter and have neverending fat stores. Same goes for concentration camps, have you ever seen obese people there? A healthy person cannot store fat when they are in an energy deficit. They need energy to function. Fat stores are energy.

      May 25, 2012 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      The food was changed in the USA, UK and Australia 30 years ago when dangerous food chemicals from the USA was allowed into European. The food today causes stubborn insulin If you have stubborn insulin you hold fat and have a hard time losing weight. You can eat very little and the weight still does not come off. Stubborn insulin will hold fat and diets won't work. When researchers used a specialized diabetes diet on overweight people all lost weight even those who did not have diabetes.

      just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

      May 25, 2012 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • kleptiko

      Make them walk 2 miles a day, from a collecting center to a designated public kitchen. Then, walk back, each and every day.
      Guaranteed, half the obesity in this population will disappear.

      May 26, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • Ashamed

      As a wealthy country, we should be ashamed of ourselves for even having homeless people on the streets. In Boston alone, they took over 5600 homeless people in to do this study. That number is unacceptable. On any given night in the greater Boston area there are over 7000 people homeless. That's just one city! I'm outraged that we send billions of dollars to other countries and still wage unnecessary wars. Meanwhile, our fellow countrymen live on the streets and have to suffer malnutrition?!!!! I'm so damn mad.

      May 27, 2012 at 08:51 | Report abuse |
    • reality check

      There is no such thing as "stubborn insulin."

      May 27, 2012 at 08:51 | Report abuse |
    • Alexander

      Not stubborn insulin but rather excessive insulin. A calorie is still a calorie, but the structure of the food clearly has some influence over how the body makes use of the calories by way of the glands. Its the high glycemic load in the diet that is without precedent.

      May 27, 2012 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
    • DDM

      Alcohol is fattening.

      May 27, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
  2. Annie

    So sad! A rich country as ours to have such a large population, including children, homeless, obese = under nutritioned! Junk Food Corporations are happy to have us obese, while the Big Pharma loves to sell us medications. Looks more like a conspiracy to me 🙂

    May 25, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CatastropheCathy

      And where is the personal responsibility of the homeless to take care of themselves and thier children? Sure a percentage need help due to illness but that doesn't account for all of them. And I for one don't feel the desire to have to feed everyone who doesn't want to take care of themselves. I saw a recent story of a man with 30 children from 11 women. He has a minimum wage job. So essentially others are supporting his kids and shouldn't have to. It's called personal responsibility.

      eat healthy and avoid the prescriptions....conspiracy ended....

      May 25, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • Desdemone

      Most of them are mentally sick. A sane person does not have 30 kids, only if the live in Saud Arabia and own oil fields! For real, most of them are mentally sick and we don't have the money to keep them in places that will take care and treat them. We need the money for wars and help the corrupted governments throughout the World!

      May 25, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • pete

      When all one has to do with their time is to sit on their duff and eat all that free food they get from the local food shelf, it's really quite easy to put on weight. My advice, pick up trash or something else constructive for the benefit of society between the meals we supply you with.

      May 25, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • bigDizzle

      @CatastropheCathy – actually, a very large percentage of homeless are mentally ill and have a very distorted view of reality or brain chemistry which makes their emotions run wild and leaves them with a temperament hardly suitable for work in a day to day job. While people afflicted for mental illness make up less than one percent of the general population, they make up a majority of the homeless population.

      I'm not saying that there aren't capable people among them and I admit that I'm not offering much in the way of a solution. But sitting there and imposing personal accountability on a homeless people is akin to beating a dead horse. It won't move simply because it can't.

      May 25, 2012 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
    • Hawk

      @Pete – Have you ever eaten, or even seen, the food that is given out at food banks? I have. Often if there are vegis or fruit it is either moldy, or 1-2 days from being moldy. Meat is rarely seen – same for dairy products or juice. White bread is common (you often have to ask for the healthier wheat bread). There are rice and beans – hard to prepare if you don't have a place to cook it. But, do you know what they have lots of? Cookies, donuts, cakes, and pies! Stores donate all sorts of cheap foods, full of preservatives, fats and sugars that are at, or very near their sell-by dates (so that they can get a tax write-off).

      Now, if you are poor and hungry, you eat what you get. Is it healthy? Of course not! But if the choice is between eating fattening foods, or going hungry, you eat the fattening foods. We need to fund better food for food banks, along with other programs.Otherwise the homeless and the poor will continue to get fatter. Not because they *want* to be fat – but because that's the type of food they can afford.

      I served 8 years in the U.S. Military, worked in civilian jobs since I was 16 (often in management positions) and I even owned my own business for several years. My wife worked 80 hour weeks while raising a child. I am now permanently disabled and my wife is a full-time student with a 3.95 GPA. She went back to school because she worked so hard that she now has physical injuries that prevent her from doing her previous line of work. We are living on my Disability of under $1,000 per month. We aren't poor because we want to be poor, or because we are lazy, or because we are uneducated. Sometimes life just doesn't pan out the way you had planned.

      May 25, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
  3. alex sanzman

    man you guys are so stupid, they are homeless, they gonna eat whatever they get in their hands. and since when homeless
    have health insurence, i'm not homeless and i dont have health insurance. instead of wasting money in doing stupid reports, help them in a different way. or maybe i just dont get it.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnnyboy

      alex sanzman, exactly what I was thinking, when you give food to food banks they ask for non perishables which would be stuff that does not spoil or need to be refrigerated. That would mean no fresh fruit, veggies, or lean meats. So what is usually donated is Cereal, pancake and cake mixes, oatmeal, and canned veggies/fruit/meat. Plus the most that you afford with handout money is junk food, like Honey buns, cakes, or bread, dried jerky meat, and over the counter food, like hotdogs, etc. Plus your survivor instinct takes over and you would end up eating as much as you can because your next meal is not certain. Not to mention how screwed up you metabolism would probably be since you are eating irregular meals, Eat a lot one day, then the next nothing, not sleep for several days, etc.
      Also, I wonder if men who are homeless are giving the food to women and children when they get it, which would also make some sense.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • SilentBoy741

      The "homeless" I've seen probably do have health insurance. I've even seen one pile out of a nice car, take the cardboard sign and cup from the dude on the corner, and have the other guy get in and drive off. 5 o'clock shift change.

      May 25, 2012 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
  4. Riches to rags

    The homeless are obese, eh? Well, that just makes a whole lot of sense.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnnyboy

      Think about it logically, you are not getting fresh fruits and veggies or lean meats. You are getting fed stuff from shelters and food banks (which can't spoil), and you are able to only buy stuff that you can afford from donations. Most likely you are getting change which would mean that you could only afford stuff from cornerstores like 7-eleven or Wawa. Let's see I have $5 in quarters, do I spend that on a $1 banana, $3 veggie drink and $1 sunflower seeds? (keep in mind I have no idea if I will be able to eat again) or do I buy two honey buns, a couple of hotdogs or a pack of uncooked hotdogs, or cheap boloney, and low nutrient bread or chips? Remember I have to survive, so what do you expect me to do?

      May 25, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • wrm

      You don't have to eat fruits and vegetables to not be fat. Adding more doesn't equate to less. Whatever your diet is, if the result is you are gaining weight, then change your calorie distribution or reduce the total mass of what you are eating within that diet. Energy balance 101.

      May 27, 2012 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  5. sarabell33

    To address a few of the other comments, this article addresses one of the NUMEROUS facets of homelessness. It helps us understand and gain better insight into helping and treating this population more effectively. They aren't just homeless; many are suffering from mental illness, malnutrition (perhaps manifested through obesity), societal displacement, and many other probelms. So, by understanding the health concerns of the homeless, we can continue to develop more helpful approaches and assistive programs.

    You don't solve homelessness by throwing unnutritious foods and ramshackle housing at a person. There are a lot more factors that are worth considering and this article/research is a small component.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. GK

    This illustrates a scary point – in America even those in the deepest of poverty are still fat.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      The majority of the overweight (percentage-wise) population in America are poor. This is for the exact reason the article states. Cheap food is bad food. Buying fresh, healthy food is expensive, and it doesn't last in the pantry; so families who can only go shopping once or twice a month (or less for the homeless) are having to buy foods that will last long periods of time, and go a long way.

      May 25, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
    • DDM

      Beer is fattening.

      May 27, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  7. Ellen

    Now I've heard everything. If the obesity issue were solely about nutrition, we wouldn't see those heart-breaking pictures from 3rd world countries where hunger is a reality. One of the reasons I don't make donations to food banks is because so many in the lines there are overweight. I could stand in one of those lines myself, but I'm more honest than that. Most overweight people have no idea what it feels like to actually be hungry. Why they don't recognize hunger varies from person to person, but if they ate only when their bodies needed fuel, they wouldn't be overweight. Calories in vs calories out equals weight normality.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnnyboy

      Ellen there is a huge difference from being homeless in the US than other countries. Other countries you have no access to food. Here there is a 7-eleven, WAWA, or some other convenience store that sells low nutrient foods. So if you only have $5 in change what are you going to do? But healthy stuff? or get stuff that will sustain you until you get another $5 dollars.
      Also, have you ever worked in a soup kitchen or food bank? You are subject to whatever is donated and most likely it can't be a perishable item (fresh produce or meat), so you get cake mixes, bread, and really unhealthy stuff.

      May 25, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • onlyinamerica

      "Calories in vs calories out equals weight normality." not that simple. You need nutrients, not just calories. that is why you can be obese, and malnurished at the same time. Sad state we live in.

      May 25, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • Johnnyboy

      Here is what the article says in case you missed it: "Homeless people don’t have the ability to choose,” said Dipietro. “They eat what they’re given. When you’re moneyless, you don’t have a stove or fridge. You don’t have a place to store food or prepare it. Everything you buy is easy-to-go, that you can store in the bag for later – that’s high in preservatives like canned foods.”
      “Our results are in line with [the] hunger-obesity paradox,” said Montgomery. “People feel hungry. The body’s response is the higher calories, you store them and become obese, and you still feel hungry. It’s a circular problem.”

      May 25, 2012 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
    • Johnnyboy

      onlyinamerica, exactly, Folks are assigning their pre-conceived notions about being poor and thinking that everyone should look like ethopians. Malnutrition is what it is, does not matter if a person is underweight or obese, you still need nutrients.

      May 25, 2012 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      Onlyinamerica, you are right, people still think calories in, calories out, no wonder when they eat junk food complain of weight related issues. Nutrition and junk food don't go together. How can we have homeless access healthy food, it is a different story, I guess for as long as junk food is sold in the stores, there is no way to eliminate it. I bet if I give an homeless man an apple he wont eat it, he would prefer a donut instead.

      May 25, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Hunger in 3rd world famine countries is way different than hunger in America. The calories that people in famine stricken countries can take in, when they do, are energy rich, and low in preservatives and fats. Things like rice, grains, fresh killed meats etc. The calories that people in America in similar situations are low in nutrients, high in fats and preservatives. The 100 calories in a candy bar and the 100 calories in an apple are WAY different from each other.

      May 25, 2012 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • Myron

      "Calories in vs calories out equals weight normality." not that simple. You need nutrients, not just calories. that is why you can be obese, and malnurished at the same time. Sad state we live in.

      Yes. However, calories in vs calories out still apply. Laws of thermodynamics don't change. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. If starving would result in weight gain, you'd never have people die from hunger in africa, children would be obese, concentration camps would be full of fat people and no one would die from malnoutrition as you'd have a neverending fat storage available for energy.

      May 25, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • Johnnyboy

      Myron, it is not that simple, you mess with your metabolism by not eating or having inconsistent meals. So by eat nothing for a day or two and then eating at much as you can with low nutrient foods can lead to weight gain. This is what is happening to some homeless folks, they miss a couple of days and then pig out when they get food.

      May 26, 2012 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
    • Tovah

      Ellen, wow. I'm astounded at your lack of compassion for others. I hope you never have to find out firsthand what it's like to be hungry.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Ellen-think about it for just a second. They are HOMELESS depending on others to give them food. They don't know when their next meal is going to be. They should turn down food because they are not starving at the second they are offered?

      May 27, 2012 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    In general, the homeless are either mentally ill or they are addicted to some substance. We have certainly failed those who are mentally ill, as they should have another option then walking the streets. Rather then spend a trillion dollars in Iraq, imagine if you put that money towards high quality facilities that operate more like homes then hospitals, a place were the mentally ill would actually WANT to be. For those addicted to drugs, the solution is more difficult. Many are there do to their own poor choices, and do not make the changes required to improve their lives. Help is many times available, but often ignored. Many mentally ill also end up as addicts, as well.

    May 25, 2012 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. James

    America has the fattest poor people and thinest rich people in the world. The poor eat a diet of heavily processed foods which is turning them into a bloated over-fed and under-nourished people.

    May 25, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Barry G.

    We Americans definitely need to modify our diets and lifestyles, or we're going to live short lives, need catastrophic care for many, and the cost of caring for those who are neglecting to maintain proper health will pose an overwhelming burden to our health system.

    But I'm sure the lobbyists and our politicians who do their bidding will see to it that we make no such changes.

    I guess we can thank our “public servants” for this.

    May 25, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Emmi

    I agree. Many homeless people have poor eating habits, for various reason. It would help if soup kitchens, etc. would provide better meals for them , and lay off the cakes, pies, etc.

    May 25, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tiger7609

      Shelters and soup kitchens are non-profits and rely on donations from supermarkets for their fdoods, so they take what they are given and have to make do with it! Think before you speak.

      May 26, 2012 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    If we can find all the homeless people to determine that statistic, why can't we manage to take some of those trillions of dollars being spent on warfare, and put a roof over their heads. We have the power and wealth to eliminate homelessness for families, permanently.

    May 25, 2012 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Diana

    Fed the homeless to the hungry – problem solved!

    May 25, 2012 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      You're not funny, Ms. Callous.

      May 27, 2012 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
  14. jimdog33

    Makes sense I suppose? If many homeless (street people) eat the garbage that average people discard, it's still the same fatty, over-processed crap.

    May 25, 2012 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RSFan

    Brother, can you spare a half eaten big mac?

    May 25, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SilentBoy741

      I can spare the eaten half... give me your cup and I'll bring it to you tomorrow.

      May 25, 2012 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
  16. Thankful

    Well I'm glad that I don't have to give change to the homeless now because they can live for a good several weeks on their fat reserves

    May 25, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Saywhatyoumean

    I grew up eating microwave dinners and hamburger helper. I didn't even know what real ice cream tasted like until I was around 17 because all my parents ever bought was the cheap crap in the tub that says "artificially flavored". After my parents died I found it a struggle to eat healthy. I didn't know what it meant to eat healthy and I didn't care because I was young and stupid. Later on I struggled with being homeless for a long time. Eventually I overcame many of the problems that plagued me. One of the biggest problems I had was learning how to eat healthy. The shelters didn't teach me that. Social Services didn't either. I was fortunate to develop friendships with others who did care enough about themselves to try to eat healthy and I learned from them. I still struggle sometimes to eat good food because eating crap is so much cheaper and readily available. There are many factors that influence a person on what they eat and all share some responsibility, but I think that ultimately you are the one that has to be in charge of bettering yourself. And there's lots of support available these days, especially with the internet and as the homeless know very well, that can easily be accessed at a local library.

    May 25, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

    The BMI is an antiquated measure of somebody's body fat percentage. Many athletic muscular men are considered obese because they weigh more due to their muscle mass.

    May 25, 2012 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      I get so tired of your recycled comment that I see over and over again. BMI is a completely valid, useful tool that works for the MAJORITY of people who are of AVERAGE build and are not HIGHLY CONDITIONED ATHLETES. This is why it is completely appropriate to use. The athletes can go get their own special tool if they like, they are obviously not in BAD SHAPE! Lol

      May 26, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Johnnyboy

      Not true, for Older people it over estimates how fit they are by saying that they are normal or underweight even though they have no muscle mass. Also, when I was at my best weight my BMI was 29.5 @ 218 lbs. which is borderline obese/overweight, however, I was working out about 4 to 5 times a week at about a 2 – 3 hr clip. The only way I got an accurate number was with the dunk tank and the said 18% body fat. So it is inaccurate.

      May 26, 2012 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
    • wrm

      Sarah, I'm not an average and neither are you. BMI might be fine for tracking trends in large populations but it is terrible for individuals. Trying to ascertain the overall health of an organism based upon a single metric is inherently ridiculous.

      May 27, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Ok, I am sure there are a lot of athletic, body-builder homeless types out there. Ridic.

      May 27, 2012 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
  19. Ed

    Only in America are the poor and homeless obese. There's no shortage of food, though some of it isn't the best for you.

    May 25, 2012 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DDM

      Alcohol is fattening. See beer-bellies all around the homeless camps.

      May 27, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
  20. jbird68

    Nope. The homeless I have seen in Tampa, all have that bearded hallow cheeked gaunt appearance. I think the research is flawed

    May 25, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      That is meth addiction.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I constantly see homeless people all over San Francisco and can't remember EVER seeing an obese one. Weird article.

      May 27, 2012 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
  21. davey

    Maybe MOOOOchelle could do a work out video for the homeless.

    May 25, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Johnny

    Well now, if you think about it, being homeless doesn't mean you can't eat. What's rent cost? $600/mo? What's food cost for one person for a month? $200/mo if you really skimp? Of course you can be obese and homeless. The problem is that "homes" cost too much.

    May 25, 2012 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. larry5

    Many homeless have choices. I see them talking on cell phones, some are iPhones or Android phones. If they are fat they are eating the corporate America designed diet, processed food replacements.

    May 25, 2012 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      how in the world do they even do that study on an invisible population?

      May 25, 2012 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
  24. Delamalou

    Fat are lazy and greedy in general !

    May 25, 2012 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. pamela

    All of us know someone who is not "Ideal" in size by society's standards. Plus size is no better than stick thin,recently I’ve found to be extremely helpful and useful web dating site;meetbigpeople.c0m,offers the big women and men with a pure land to meet quality friends and singles to develop friendship, romance and marriage. Hope you will like it.

    May 25, 2012 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Amanda

    I wonder if the study tracked the influence of medication(s) in this population. Mental illness is much more common in the homeless than in the general population, and several of the medications used for mental illnesses cause profound weight gain.

    May 25, 2012 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Liz

    Sorry but this country has serious issues. Wake up lazy asses.

    May 25, 2012 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. claude slagenhop

    Seems that people use the EBT cards are obese too- fat woman in front of me yesterday buying potato chips and soda with her EBT card. Guess she doesn't have the facilities to properly eat/prepare carrots, milk and eggs.

    May 25, 2012 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Well, you actually WOULD need facilities to prepare eggs.

      May 27, 2012 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
  29. mark jessup

    I swear i wish someone would interview me so i can set the record straight.i get food stamps-146.00 a month and eat very healthy,i also exercise 1-2 hours a day 1000 calories a day more that the avg overweight person,so i need alot more calories then the avg person and im able to do that on 146.00 a month....its bullshyte lies that you cant eat healthy on this amount of food stamps and i dont get the max amount either....continues with the lies cnn

    May 26, 2012 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark Smith

      Poverty stricken areas have few supermarkets with fresh produce, but lots of fast food joints. Why? Because its cheaper and what they can afford.

      May 26, 2012 at 06:45 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Are you homeless too? The article is talking about homeless people.

      May 27, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Also, you are ONE person. If you ARE homeless, you would simply fall into the 30% or so that is average weight. A lot of homeless are mentally ill or physically incapacitated. They are not able to exercise. So consider yourself lucky.

      May 27, 2012 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
    • KD

      Maybe with the 1-2 hours that you spend exercising, you could get a second job and then you wouldn't need food stamps. Just a thought. I can tell you that working two jobs, I don't have 2 hours a day to spend exercising.

      May 28, 2012 at 02:37 | Report abuse |
  30. Billy the Kid

    No wonder real estate is plummeting. How can we expect to own homes when we aren't even successful at homelessness?

    May 26, 2012 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Mark Smith

    Lesson learned, stay away from the McDonald's dumpster.

    May 26, 2012 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Anne

    I'm sure we would all like to sit down to a nice steak dinner or whatever. What I think is really a shame in our country that we can't even help our own people. We can send billions of dollars to foreign countries, but yet can't even help our own people. I'm sure it is not a choice to be homeless. And with no jobs available and the little resources that they have their choice of food is not very good. So they grab for anything they can get. Gee I myself can afford food, but the prices in the grocery store for fresh fruit and vegetables holds me back. But I am a normal size person and do watch what I eat and try to keep a balanced diet. Whether homeless or not and you have a limited income you buy what you can afford.

    May 26, 2012 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. tony jeppesen

    How can anyone say that food that is good for a person is cheaper? Based on what? Homeless people have no cooking or storage of perishables and often time have no access to supermarkets, Having been there I know you eat what you can get you; cannot be picky. I was never on food stamps either so do not assume they are. A drug conviction procludes that for life. So perhaps whent he experts make all these claims they need to ask people rather making all sorts of claims.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sheila

    "Even if they had fresh vegetables and fruits, they have to way to store them or prepare them."

    Does anyone edit articles anymore?

    May 26, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. tony jeppesen

    when I could get two dollars I would buy a pack of bologna and a loaf of bread. Or 12 Ramen noodle soups. Eat what you can afford

    May 26, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rrock

    I guess this means most of the homeless are well fed. They are lucky they are not living outside the US.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Imichog

    Many psych medications, especially antipsychotics, can create rapid weight gain. Just a couple months on these drugs at some point can make them fat. I'm sure this is another reason why many homeless people are overweight.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fatty fatty fatso.

      PAXIL packs on POUNDS!!!

      80 lbs in 8 months...with no visible changes in my eating habits. My husband is my winess. I stopped taking Paxil and immediatly stopped th weight gaining phase, however, now I am "pre-diabetic". AND never having been over weight like this before taking the bad drug. My body is never going to be the same again. If I took Paxil due to social anziety, well then now I as a fatter person will continually have to deal with he social stigma and ill health of a newly grossly fatter body.

      May 27, 2012 at 08:57 | Report abuse |
  38. Susan

    Oh my gosh – just like everyone else... there was just an article in the past week that it is a myth that healthier foods are more expensive. Here's what any homeless person can do – take the change they get, buy some bags of beans, get to a fire (yes, they are around), and cook them up in a pot. This is what the cowboys did and still do out on the range. Probably the cheapest food out there, good for you, and gives you plenty of energy. People need to redefine what they consider food and a proper meal.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • millee

      Where do you find the pot and the water? What do you do with the leftover beans or do you eat the whole pot at once? In most cities, the homeless have to keep moving from place to place, and you can't build a fire on a sidewalk without the police coming up and putting it out and throwing away your beans and the pan. During the winter there is a problem with vacant buildings catching fire because of fires set inside them by the homeless who are trying to keep warm or cook.

      May 26, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • Johnnyboy

      Susan, Let me take a look at your scenario, okay, I'm homeless and can get a can of beans, ok, I am in a City and get a pile of sticks together and start a fire to warm the beans up in the can. A cop walks by and sees a small fire, Do you know what he is going to do? He is going to ask me or make me put the fire out. Life in cities is different that on the range, I think that your scenario is far fetched. Even if I were able to prepare the beans, I would then have to eat all of the beans because I have no way of storing them.

      May 26, 2012 at 23:47 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Susan, they are not living out on the range! Police would frown upon people making fire in a crowded downtown area. What a hick!

      May 27, 2012 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
  39. Mom of 4

    Unfortunately, many food banks only get fattening foods donated to them. Our church feeds 120+ families per week. The money that is donated to our church is used to buy meat, dairy and vegetables. Many high-end stores donate to us the pastries, breads, cakes, cookies, pies, etc., that are not sold. So we do have an over abundance of ciabatta bread, banana nut muffins and other sweet or starchy foods. At least we are able to put eggs, meat and veggies into their food bags, but it's never enough.

    May 26, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnnyboy

      Exactly, I worked in a soup kitchen and did food drives in school, you get mostly stuff that folks were going to throw away. Because it is charity you can't make folks give stuff that is healthy or even not going to spoil because the expiration date is up. But somehow folks believe that a homeless person can get healthy fresh produce.

      May 26, 2012 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
  40. svann

    Dont think I have ever seen an obese homeless person.

    May 26, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      I know, right? Must be something in the water up in Boston.

      May 27, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  41. NeighborhoodTrainer

    What area of the country was this study done? Sadly, I see many homeless people on the streets of New York City, but 1 in 3 are not obese. Being homeless is sad all around, but this is really dragging things lower. #NghbrdTrainers.

    May 26, 2012 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dat

      100% agree. Same deal with the homeless in Florida where I lived.

      May 27, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
  42. jony

    Only in America are the Homeless chowing down

    May 26, 2012 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnnyboy

      Oh what cakes and donuts that folks are throwing away?

      May 26, 2012 at 23:52 | Report abuse |
  43. Marielaina Perrone DDS

    This is such an epidemic its not even funny anymore. People need to start looking at themselves and taking control of their lives. The homeless population ar eprobably eating poorly when eating which means they are binging on whatever they can.

    May 27, 2012 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. hamsta

    you hear that? even the homeless are fat. that just reveals that steroids in our food and not twinkies and sodas are making people fat. but hey thats the government for you – make it illegal to discriminate against gays make people fat and discriminate against fat people.

    May 27, 2012 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Disappointed American

    Most of us have stopped eating "whole" foods - what do you expect? Garbage in garbage out!

    May 27, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dat

      in your case it's just garbage out

      May 27, 2012 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
  46. Cake

    Let them eat cake.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. tom hansen

    Most of you people never mention the problum in America and especiay in
    the poor contries of the world. And that is overpopulation. I dare you to
    name a poor starving country in which the population decreaces instead
    of rising every year. Yet the religious nuts and bleeding hearts go crazy
    over chinise abortions or really trying to promote birth control in America
    or elsewhere in the world. The poor everywhere should not have over 2
    children at the MOST.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. DDM

    Alcohol is high in calories, is fattening.

    May 27, 2012 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. dat

    this is why i don't give money to the homeless: it's either going for booze, cigarettes, or food, all of which they don't need.

    May 27, 2012 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. paz

    An interesting statistic: for the first time in American history, a generation (mine, 20 and younger) is on track to have a lower life expectancy than our parents'

    May 27, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

May 2012
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