The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends home-delivered and congregate meal services for older adults living independently (i.e., not residents of senior living or retirement community centers) based on sufficient evidence of effectiveness showing reductions in malnutrition.
For home-delivered meal services, CPSTF also finds sufficient evidence of effectiveness for increasing energy intake and improving health-related quality of life and well-being.
For congregate meal services, additional research is needed to determine whether these services improve energy and protein intake and health-related quality of life and well-being.
Meal services provide nutritious meals to adults 60 years and older who are living independently (i.e., not residents of senior living or retirement community centers). Interventions prioritize older adults with greater social and economic needs and are delivered in one of two ways:
- Home-delivered meal services bring meals to older adults in their homes.
- Congregate meal services are provided in group settings, such as senior centers, allowing older adults the opportunity to socialize.
Prepared meals may be modified to meet cultural- or health-related needs, such as vegetarian, diabetic, low sodium, or modified texture. Meals typically follow nutritional guidelines and are provided five days per week.
Read the full CPSTF Finding and Rationale Statement for details including implementation issues, possible added benefits, potential harms, and evidence gaps.