CPSTF Recommends Home-delivered and Congregate Meal Services for Older Adults

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends home-delivered and congregate meal services to reduce malnutrition among older adults living independently.

The CPSTF recommendation is based on a systematic review of 20 studies identified from a published systematic review1 and an updated search for evidence. Results showed home-delivered meal services increased the percent of older adults who met their Recommended Daily Allowances for energy and protein and decreased malnutrition by 15.5 percentage points. Congregate meal services decreased malnutrition by 9 percentage points.

The Older Americans Act Nutrition Program provides home-delivered meal and congregate meal services to reduce hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; enhance socialization; and promote health and well-being among older Americans.

What are Home-delivered and Congregate Meal Services for Older Adults?

Meal services provide nutritious meals to adults 60 years and older who are living independently (i.e., not residents of senior living centers). Interventions prioritize those with greater social and economic needs and either home-deliver meals or offer them in congregate settings that give participants an opportunity to socialize. Meals typically follow nutritional guidelines, are usually provided five days per week, and may follow cultural- or health-related needs, such as diabetic requirements.

Why is this important?

Older adults are at greater risk of malnutrition, which is defined as inadequate nutritional intake or absorption.2 Malnutrition among older adults results from physiological changes that occur with aging and may include changes in cognitive functioning, metabolism, body composition, chronic diseases and conditions, and use of multiple medications that may affect intake and absorption of nutrients.3 Additionally, social factors associated with aging may include reduced social connectedness, loneliness, and depression.4

For More Information:


1 Walton K, et al. The impact of home-delivered meal services on the nutritional intake of community living older adults: a systematic literature review. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 2020;33;38-47.

2 Norman K, et al. Malnutrition in older adults recent advances and remaining challenges. Nutrients 2021;13:2764.

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. December 2020. Date Accessed: 11/15/21. Available at: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans-2020-2025.pdf.

4 Krondl M, et al. Helping older adults meet nutritional challenges. Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly 2008; 27(3/4), 205-20.