What Research Says About Home-Delivered Meals

Posted on Thursday, June 3, 2021

While the concept of delivering food to peoples’ homes is nothing new, it wasn’t until the 20th century that researchers and health care professionals began to seriously study the impact home-delivered meals have on health outcomes and expenditures, especially as it relates to individuals who are chronically ill or food insecure. In fact, a search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine reveals the earliest mention of “home-delivered meals” in a research paper occurred in a 1962 paper “The Role of Nutrition in Home Care and Homemaker Programs”, and the first paper dedicated entirely to home-delivered meals was not released until three years later (“Survey of Home-Delivered Meals Programs”).

Fortunately, the medical community has since expanded its research of home-delivered meals over the years, possibly as a result of the U.S. government launching and expanding new food- and nutrition-related public assistance programs in the 1960s and 70s.

As a leading provider of home-delivered meals nationwide, Mom’s Meals not only stays abreast of new and emerging research regarding home-based nutrition programs but also participates in the research itself whenever possible.

Below you’ll find a list of what we consider to be some of the most impactful studies regarding home-delivered meals, medically-tailored meals, and similar nutrition programs. Studies that use meals provided by Mom’s Meals are marked with our icon: logo

Mom's Meals LogoHome-delivered meals help heart failure (HF) patients improve symptoms and stay out of the hospital.

Source: Hummel, Scott L et al. “Home-Delivered Meals Post Discharge From Heart Failure Hospitalization.” Circulation. Heart failure vol. 11,8 (2018): e004886. doi:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.117.004886

Key insight: “Home-delivered DASH/SRD meals after HF hospitalization appeared safe in selected patients and had directionally favorable effects on HF clinical status and 30-day readmissions. Larger studies are warranted to clarify the effects of post-discharge nutritional support in patients with HF.”

Mom's Meals Logo Home-delivered meals may support improved volume control and blood pressure in patients undergoing hemodialysis.

Source: Perez, Luis M et al. “Pilot study to reduce interdialytic weight gain by provision of low-sodium, home-delivered meals in hemodialysis patients.” Hemodialysis international. International Symposium on Home Hemodialysis vol. 25,2 (2021): 265-274. doi:10.1111/hdi.12902

Key insight: “In summary, home delivery of lower-sodium, kidney-friendly meals is a feasible short-term approach to reduce sodium intake, thirst, xerostomia [dry mouth], IDWG [interdialytic weight gain], BP [blood pressure], plasma phosphorus, and volume overload in HD patients.”

Mom's Meals Logo IP visits, ER visits, and readmission rates were reduced after patients with diabetes and prediabetes received home-delivered meals.

Source: Helping You Make a Remarkable Impact.” Mom’s Meals. September, 2019.

Key insight: “For members with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, providing access to condition-appropriate nutrition and meals is every bit as important as ensuring they fill their prescriptions.”

Participation in a medically tailored meals program appears to be associated with fewer hospital and skilled nursing admissions and less overall medical spending.

Study: Berkowitz SA, Terranova J, Randall L, Cranston K, Waters DB, Hsu J. Association Between Receipt of a Medically Tailored Meal Program and Health Care Use. JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Jun 1;179(6):786-793. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0198. PMID: 31009050; PMCID: PMC6547148.

Key insight: “Participation in a medically tailored meals program appears to be associated with fewer hospital and skilled nursing admissions and less overall medical spending.”

Meal delivery programs reduce the use of costly health care in dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Source: Berkowitz, Seth A et al. “Meal Delivery Programs Reduce the Use of Costly Health Care In Dually Eligible Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries.” Health affairs (Project Hope) vol. 37,4 (2018): 535-542. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0999

Key insight: “Compared with matched nonparticipants, participants had fewer emergency department visits in both the medically tailored meal program and the nontailored food program. Participants in the medically tailored meal program also had fewer inpatient admissions and lower medical spending.”

Nutrition programs for chronically ill patients are associated with a downward trend in inpatient costs, length of stay, and number of hospital admissions.

Source: Gurvey, Jill, et al. “Examining Health Care Costs Among MANNA Clients and a Comparison Group.” Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, Oct. 2013, pp. 311–317, doi:10.1177/2150131913490737.

Key insight: “Improved health care cost outcomes are of extreme importance, especially following the recent economic crisis. Those most affected by this are populations with the highest nutrition requirements, including chronically ill populations. For individuals who are low income or have other difficulties accessing healthy food, medically tailored, home-delivered meals programs could be a viable solution.”

Home-delivered meals could save Medicare $1.57 per dollar invested.

Source: Next Steps in Chronic Care: Expanding Innovative Medicare Benefits” Bipartisan Policy Center. July 2019

Key insight: “Medicare can do a better job coordinating care for chronically ill patients, who account for most of the program’s $650 billion annual cost. There’s a growing recognition that practical services like meal delivery can make a difference helping older people avoid flare-ups that can send them to the hospital.”

Participation in home-delivered meals programs may contribute to the health and independence of older adults, especially those who are food insecure or those who are making transitions from acute, subacute, and chronic care settings to the home.

Source: Campbell, Anthony D et al. “Does Participation in Home-Delivered Meals Programs Improve Outcomes for Older Adults? Results of a Systematic Review.” Journal of nutrition in gerontology and geriatrics vol. 34,2 (2015): 124-67. doi:10.1080/21551197.2015.1038463

Key insight: “Home-delivered meals may be beneficial in many ways including improvements in nutrition and quality of life as well as reducing mortality, symptoms of a variety of illnesses, need for home health services, nursing home placement, and hospital admissions and readmissions.”


We will regularly update this information as we learn about (and participate in) future research involving home-delivered meals. Bookmark this page in your web browser for easy access later!

Click here if you’d like to learn more about our home-delivered meal solutions, including meal options to support chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, and others.

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