Nutritional Quality of Congregate and Home-Delivered Meals Offered in the Title III-C Nutrition Services Program: An Examination Utilizing the Healthy Eating Index Tool

Issue Brief
Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Oct 30, 2017
Authors
Katherine Niland, Mary Kay Fox, and Elizabeth Gearan
  • Total HEI-2010 scores, which measures overall nutritional quality, were 68 percent of the maximum score for both congregate and home-delivered meals.
  • HEI-2010 component scores indicate that both congregate and home-delivered meals are highly consistent with Dietary Guidelines recommendations for total fruit, whole fruit, total vegetables, greens and beans, dairy, and total protein foods.
  • The data also indicate that significant improvements are needed for both types of meals to better align them with Dietary Guidelines recommendations for whole grains and sodium.   

Human Services, plays a vital role in ensuring the needs of older adults are met through the Nutrition Services Program (NSP). The NSP is designed to alleviate hunger and food insecurity among older adults while also giving them the opportunity to enrich their social lives. The Nutrition Services Program (NSP), administered by the Administration on Aging within the Administration for Community Living, is designed to alleviate hunger and food insecurity among the elderly while also giving them the opportunity to enrich their social lives. The NSP aims to achieve these goals, in part, by serving congregate meals at senior centers or other community settings and providing home-delivered meals to homebound participants. Meals are required to comply with federal nutrition quality standards, including current Dietary Guidelines. This issue brief uses the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) to describe the nutritional quality of congregate and home-delivered meals offered through the NSP and examine how well the meals conform to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.