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Extracts of a food and nutrition survey with clients of the
Freedom Day Centre

In 2007 a short survey was carried out with some of the service users of the Freedom Day Centre. The purpose of the survey was to determine the general eating habits of those who attend the Day Centre. Some of the questions asked about fruit and vegetable consumption and whether or not this was part of an individuals regular diet and if so to what degree.

At the time of the survey 33% of respondents indicated that they were homeless and therefore had little or no use of cooking equipment.

The survey revealed the following information about how often clients were eating and whether they had regular intake of fruit and vegetables:

Question – Clients were asked how many times they ate each day.

  • 63% of respondents indicated they ate only once a day.
  • 21% of respondents indicated they ate once or twice a day.
  • 15% of respondents indicated they ate two or three times a day.

Question – Clients were asked about their daily consumption of fruit and vegetables.

  • 75% of respondents said that vegetables were not part of their normal diet.
  • 48% however said that fruit was part of their daily diet.
  • 42% of respondents said that fruit was not part of their normal diet.

This survey revealed that many of those attending the Freedom Day Centre rarely ate more than one meal a day and in fact when they did eat their main meal was normally provided by Freedom.

The survey also revealed that the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed by those attending the Centre were nowhere near the quantities recommended by the government in their five a day campaign introduced by the Department of Health in 2003.

As a result of these findings Freedom Social Projects have endeavored to secure further funding and resources to improve the nutritional value of the meals served.

In addition, whenever possible fruit and vegetables are included to provide some of the vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants which are essential in a healthy diet. They are also low in fat which can in turn reduce the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.