Back to Evidence & Resource Library

Food is medicine: The road to universal coverage

Peters A, Hughes IV R, Brown J
Health Aff Forefront

Like most public health challenges, addressing the US’s chronic disease epidemic requires multiple interventions at multiple levels. Yet, today, food is rarely considered a medically necessary treatment modality that should be just as integrated in clinical care as surgeries, blood tests, and pharmaceuticals.

The Food is Medicine (FIM) movement seeks to fill this disconnect by linking food-based interventions to address the specific health needs of individuals and populations. There are no strict boundaries that define FIM, but interventions generally come in three forms: medically tailored meals, medically tailored groceries or food packages, and produce prescriptions. All three interventions are most effective when they coincide with counseling by a registered dietitian nutritionist. These interventions have the potential to disproportionately benefit populations most at risk for chronic disease, including racial and ethnic minorities, rural Americans, and individuals with physical disabilities.

Peters A, Hughes IV R, Brown J. Food Is Medicine: The Road to Universal Coverage. Health Aff. 2024. doi: 10.1377/forefront.20240404.727722

View the Resource
Publication year
Resource type
Commentaries & Blogs
Social Determinant of Health