Delivery of nutritious meals to elderly receiving home care: Feasibility and effectiveness

K. F. M. Denissen, L. M. J. Janssen, S. J. P. M. Eussen, M. C. J. M. Van Dongen, N. E. G. Wijckmans, N. D. M. Van Deurse, P. C. Dagnelie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


Elderly with functional disabilities are at increased risk of inadequate dietary intake. Little is known about the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving their dietary intake and nutritional status, nor about the determinants of successful implementation. We performed a feasibility study to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of a home delivery service providing nutritious meals.

Quasi-experimental, with participants allocated to treatment group based on municipality of residence.

Functionally disabled home-dwelling elderly receiving home care. Intervention: Three-month daily meal service consisting of dinner and snacks (intervention). The control group sustained habitual food intake.

Forty-four elderly were included (intervention group: 25, control group: 19). For most aspects of the meal service, approximately 90% of participants indicated being satisfied, and the large majority (70%) was interested in receiving a similar meal service in the future. At the end of the 3-month intervention, the intervention group showed a greater increase than the control group in body weight (P <0.005), body mass index (P <0.005), upper leg circumference (P <0.01) and fat free mass (FFM, P <0.03). Three months post-intervention, only the increase in FFM remained statistically significant (P <0.05). Except for calcium intake, no positive intervention effect was observed for any of the other outcomes.

Our study stresses the feasibility as well as the potential of healthy and tasteful meals to support home-dwelling elderly, by showing that a high-quality meal service was highly appreciated and had a rapid effect on FFM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nutrition Health & Aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Elderly
  • home care
  • meal service
  • nutritional status
  • functional status
  • MEN
  • FAT

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