The report synthesizes the latest peer-reviewed Food is Medicine research and outlines a roadmap for equity-centered research

[Washington, DC] Food & Society at the Aspen Institute has released its 2024 Food is Medicine Research Action Plan. This report builds on the 2022 version, outlining a roadmap for equity-centered research that can revolutionize how diet-related conditions are prevented, treated, and managed in the United States. It is the first report to pull together the latest peer-reviewed Food is Medicine research in a digestible, comprehensible, and action-oriented format.

Food and nutrition insecurity are far too common in this country. Associated health outcomes like diabetes and heart disease remain far greater among Black and Latinx individuals and households. Efforts that involve a health care response to the need for better nutrition fall under the umbrella term “Food is Medicine.” Such programs provide free, healthy food to individuals with diet-related illness to improve patient care and health outcomes. These include medically tailored meals and groceries and produce prescriptions. Having gained both momentum and visibility following the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, Food is Medicine efforts are growing and evolving so rapidly that taking a full look at the latest body of research is a critical step to advancing the field.

The latest research demonstrates the enormous promise of Food is Medicine interventions across a range of health conditions in improving health and quality of life, while also curbing health care costs in some circumstances. To build on these findings and strengthen the case for widespread integration into the health care system, providers, researchers, insurers, and policymakers want more purposeful, thoughtful, and effective research. The Food is Medicine Research Action Plan answers this call with a comprehensive set of recommendations for creating an evidence base that will advance health equity and care integration while engaging communities, providers, and researchers.

Dr. Kurt Hager, an instructor at UMass Chan Medical School, and Zhongyu Li, a PhD student at Emory University, reviewed all published Food is Medicine studies in the US since the last iteration of the report, and synthesized findings for the field. “This project summarizes over a decade of Food is Medicine research and provides actionable recommendations for researchers, policy makers, physicians, and community-based organizations who want to maximize the impact of future Food is Medicine programs on health equity and health outcomes,” said Dr. Hager. “The new report reflects more than a year’s worth of collaboration with leaders across the US and will be tremendously valuable to practitioners in the communities across the country. It provides a path forward to better health care and food systems guided by strong scientific evidence and community engagement.”

The Research Action Plan was originally written by Sarah Downer, Emma Clippinger, and Food & Society executive director Corby Kummer, with the generous support of the Walmart Foundation. It was informed by an advisory group of dozens of Food is Medicine experts and is the result of a year-long process to synthesize and streamline research outcomes and usable recommendations. Like the original, the revised version of the Research Action Plan has been made possible thanks to the continuing support of the Walmart Foundation.

The full report contains the following:

  • Key considerations for Food is Medicine research
  • An overview of the published, peer-reviewed foundational research on the health outcomes associated with food insecurity, as well as the health outcomes associated with key federal food support programs
  • A discussion of the existing published, peer-reviewed research on Food is Medicine interventions, specifically medically tailored meals, medically tailored groceries, and produce prescriptions, now updated to include all published studies through December 1, 2023
  • Concrete recommendations for future research, with respect to
    • Ensuring that research is conceived, designed, executed, implemented, and disseminated using an equity framework
    • Identifying key considerations for ensuring that research designs are robust and appropriate for yielding the most valuable and actionable information
    • Funding the most valuable research in the field
    • Identifying urgent questions that have yet to be explored

“This report can serve as an up to date one-stop-shop for peer-reviewed Food is Medicine research,” said executive director Corby Kummer. “We’ve been very lucky to work with a generous cross-sector group of advisors to update our action-oriented recommendations, with equity at their core. More and more organizations, health care providers, and researchers are invested in doing this work—every week, it seems. This new report will help all of us do it better and move the field forward.”

The report is available online.

Authors of this year’s Food is Medicine Report are:

Kurt Hager, PhD, MS, UMass Chan Medical School

Corby Kummer, Executive Director, Food & Society at the Aspen Institute, and      Senior Lecturer, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, PhD, MPA, Fruitful LLC

Zhongyu Li, MS, Emory University


Food & Society at the Aspen Institute brings together leaders and decision-makers in the food and beverage industry and the public health community—scientists, nutritionists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and food makers of all kinds—to find solutions to production, health, and communications challenges in the food system. The program’s goal is for people of all income levels to eat better and more healthful diets—and to enjoy them bite by bite. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, as well as an international network of partners. For more information, visit