Evaluation of a shelter-based diet and physical activity intervention for homeless adults

Darla E. Kendzor, Marlyn Allicock, Michael S. Businelle, Lona F. Sandon, Kelley Pettee Gabriel, Summer G. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: The current study evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of a diet and physical activity intervention for homeless adults. Methods: Shelter residents (N = 32) were randomly assigned to a 4-week diet and physical activity intervention (n = 17) or an assessment-only control group (n = 15). Intervention participants received tailored educational newsletters, pedometers with step goals, and twice daily fruit/vegetable snacks. Key measures included 24-hour dietary recall interviews and accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA). Results: At baseline, 68.8% of participants were overweight or obese, 93.8% reported food insecurity, and 43.8% reported activity levels below physical activity guidelines. Baseline dietary recall interviews indicated low fruit/vegetable consumption, and elevated intake of added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium relative to current dietary recommendations. During the 4-week study period, intervention participants engaged in significantly greater accelerometer-measured daily MVPA (P < .001) than controls (median = 60 daily minutes p vs. 41 daily minutes). Between groups differences in fruit/vegetable consumption at the end of treatment did not reach statistical significance. Most participants reported that the intervention was helpful for increasing fruit/vegetable intake and physical activity. Conclusions: Findings highlight the potential to improve dietary quality and increase physical activity among sheltered homeless adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-97
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017


  • Accelerometry
  • Health disparities
  • Health promotion
  • Intervention study
  • Pedometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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