Food & Health Policy

Engaging healthcare and policy leaders to change the way America feeds the sick.

The Need for Medically Tailored Meals

Community Servings believes that food is powerful medicine. Malnutrition is a costly, prevalent problem for the healthcare system. Studies demonstrate that access to nutritious meals improves health outcomes and lowers overall costs.


At least 1 in 3 patients enters the hospital malnourished.


Healthcare costs for malnourished patients are up to 3x higher than costs for properly nourished patients.


Hospital stays for malnourished patients are up to 3x longer than for properly nourished patients.

Medically tailored, home-delivered meals are a low-cost, high-value service for severely ill patients which is why we advocate for the integration of medically tailored meals and supportive nutrition services into public and private healthcare models.

Our Research Projects

Data from our research projects is instrumental in building the evidence base and furthering Community Servings’ work and that of the broader Food is Medicine field.

Impact of Medically Tailored Meals on Food Insecure Diabetic Patients

Our diabetes project at MGH with Dr. Seth Berkowitz looks at whether our medically tailored meals intervention changes patients’ diet in a way that shows improved health and reduced costs. Results of the study are expected in fall of 2017. The study is funded by BCBS of MA and BNY Mellon.

Evaluating Impact of Medically Tailored Meals Provided Through Health Insurance

This retrospective analysis looks at patients Community Servings has served through Commonwealth Care Alliance, one of our healthcare contracts. CCA patients studied will have received our medically tailored meals for at least six months and will be compared against two control groups: patients with similar demographics who have not received our meals or those who have received traditional Meals on Wheels meals. Results are anticipated in fall of 2017. This study is funded by the AARP Foundation.

Evaluating the Food is Medicine Approach on Health

This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Evidence for Action” grant will evaluate the Food is Medicine approach on health. The project will study the impact of Community Servings’ medically tailored meals program on healthcare expenditures, inpatient hospitalizations, and ER visits in severely and nutritionally vulnerable adults. Dr. Seth Berkowitz from MGH will serve as co-primary investigator along with Jean Terranova, Community Servings’ Director of Food & Health Policy. Other key partners include a secondary researcher from the Mongan Institute Health Policy Center and the MA Department of Health. Results of the 30-month project are expected in summer of 2018.


  • Read our Food as Medicine White Paper
  • Download our Food is Medicine One Pager
  • Read “Group aims to show that good food can work as well as medicine” in the Boston Globe
  • Read “Eliminate the Choice Between Food or Medicine” in the Huffington Post

Food is Medicine

Community Servings serves as a member of the Food is Medicine Coalition, a coalition of nonprofit, medically tailored food and nutrition services providers from across the country. The goal of the Food is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) is to advocate for public policy that supports access to food and nutrition services for people with critical and chronic illnesses. Learn more about the FIMC and how to get involved.

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