Integrating Food and Nutrition into Clinical Care: Building the Evidence on Medically Tailored Meals Programs


The integration of nutrition and health through “food is medicine” strategies is of rapidly growing interest to healthcare system, payers, patients, and policymakers. Medically tailored meals are fully prepared, nutritionally customized, and generally home-delivered healthy meals for individuals living with advanced and costly diet-sensitive conditions, such as diabetes, heart failure, end-stage renal disease, HIV, and cancer. In recent years, growing evidence has supported the benefits of medically tailored meals on reducing hospitalizations and emergency department admissions and lowering healthcare costs. Medically tailored meal interventions represent promising new strategies for improving the outcomes of patients with diet-related chronic disease. We are at a critical time to make policy advancements to fully integrate food and nutrition into healthcare and the policy opportunities are unprecedented. This session will review the evidence of medically tailored meals on improving patients’ health outcomes, especially for patients with cancer, and discuss the policy implications and opportunities for integrating food and nutrition into healthcare.

Learning Objectives

Describe the current state of the evidence and the impact of medically tailored meals on the outcomes of patients with diet-related conditions

Determine the compounded consequences of malnutrition in vulnerable patients with cancer, using lung cancer as an example

Identify strategies to integrate both food and nutrition into oncology care as well as evidence and research into policies

Performance Indicators

6.2 Collects and interprets research data to advance knowledge and practice, and to enhance effectiveness of services

12.1 Advocates for health promotion and disease prevention in communities, in populations and globally

13.2 Develops, implements and evaluates recipes and menus for food production in delivery systems


Susan Daugherty

Chief Executive Officer


Katie Garfield

Director, Whole Person Care

Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Harvard Law School

Fang Fang Zhang

Associate Professor

Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy


Colleen Spees

Associate Professor

The Ohio State University College of Medicine

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