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J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Apr;28(2):196-202.

A fortified street food to prevent nutritional deficiencies in homeless men in France.

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UMR INRA 1260/INSERM 476/Universités Aix-Marseille I & II, Nutriments Lipidiques & Prévention des Maladies Métaboliques, Faculté de Médecine de la Timone, 27 Bd Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 05, France.



To develop a food policy approach to prevent nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition in homeless men in France.


A dietary survey was conducted among homeless men visiting an emergency shelter in Paris to assess their nutritional status and the quality of food aid provided. The use of a fortified food easy to eat in the street was identified as the best strategy to improve nutrient intake in this population. A fortified street food was therefore designed and its acceptability was tested in eight emergency centers.


The dietary survey showed that there is a high frequency of malnutrition and inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals in homeless men in France although they are receiving food aid. A chocolate-flavored spread, naturally rich in potassium and n-3 fatty acids and fortified with nutritional doses of calcium, zinc, vitamins C, D, E, B(12), thiamin, niacin and folic acid was designed. It presents multiple advantages in the context of homeless nutrition: good resistance to bacterial contamination, a suitable viscosity for people with limited chewing capacity and high energy density. The acceptability study showed that approximately two thirds of the homeless men visiting emergency centers in Paris would consume the fortified food often, or daily, if available. Another advantage of this fortified street food is its high quality/price ratio, demonstrated by linear programming analysis in the present study.


Encouraging the use of fortified street foods in food aid programs is a practical and economic way to prevent nutritional deficiencies in homeless individuals.

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