by Marion Nestle
Apr 10 2018

Home-delivered meals save health care costs!

It’s always seemed obvious to me that feeding hungry people would prevent nutritional deficiencies, and that feeding healthy diets to people who needed them would make them healthier.

We now have evidence.

The study appeared in Health Affairs:

For the people who received medically-tailored home-delivered meals, the net savings in medical costs was $220 per person per month.

For those just getting home-delivered meals, the savings was $10 per month per person.

These results are spectacular—nutrition programs hardly ever show effect sizes this large.

As the L.A. Times puts it,

The new study offers some clear evidence that even costly nutrition programs can pay handsome dividends when they are focused on low-income Americans who tend to have especially complex medical problems.

It quoted me:

New York University food and nutrition expert Marion Nestle, who was not involved with the study, called the savings almost too large to be real.  “If it were that simple: you just have to give people meals to keep them out of hospitals?” Nestle said. “Wow! I’m for it!”

I sure am.  Healthy home-delivered meals look like a great way to promote health and reduce health-care costs.  A win-win.