Malnutrition among heavy drinking homeless people

30 March 2017

Homeless people are often heavy drinkers, and their diet can be poor. This leaves them at risk of developing diseases associated with both a high alcohol intake and malnutrition.

Malnutrition as a result of alcohol dependency can lead to brain damage and a variety of other diseases. Malnutrition is often considered to only be a problem in very thin people, but heavy drinkers are often not underweight because alcohol contains a lot of calories. But alcohol doesn’t contain important nutrients. It can also damage the stomach or gut. This reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.

Advice for tackling malnutrition is often unsuitable for homeless people, who have limited cooking facilities and little money. To find the best way to tackle this problem, CLAHRC West reviewed all of the research studies that have been done so far on this topic.

This project aims to identify the best approach to prevent and treat alcohol-related malnutrition. Their systematic review helps to identify effective measures for preventing or fixing micronutrient deficiencies in heavy drinkers who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. The findings will be published soon.