Reducing Health Care Costs… With Food


At Project Angel Heart, we’ve always believed that good nutrition improves health and reduces health care costs, especially for people living with life-threatening illnesses. Now we have data to back it up!

A recent study of Project Angel Heart clients, which will be released in 2018, indicates that health care costs for people with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes go down significantly when they receive Project Angel Heart meals.

“We’re encouraged to see our meals are having a positive impact in reducing health care costs for many clients,” said Erin Pulling, president and CEO of Project Angel Heart. “We will continue to investigate ways to prove that medically tailored food can improve health in an effective and affordable way.”

The results are particularly important now, with consumers, payers, and health care organizations grappling with rapidly increasing health care costs. According to a study published this year, the U.S. spends more on health care–$9,237 per person—than any of the 184 other countries included in the study[1]. But high spending has not necessarily led to better health.

Image via Bipartisan Policy Center

Are we spending our health care dollars on the wrong things? A whopping 88 percent of national health dollars are spent on clinical medical care. And yet 70 percent of our overall health is driven by factors like access to safe housing and nutritious food–not medical care.[2]

What would happen if we put more dollars into ensuring all Americans have access to fresh, affordable, healthy food? We’re excited to see more data emerging that indicates this approach has the potential to significantly decrease health care costs, especially for people with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

[1] Dieleman, Joseph et al. (2017). Evolution and patterns of global health financing 1995–2014: development assistance for health, and government, prepaid private, and out-of-pocket health spending in 184 countries. The Lancet , Volume 389 , pp. 1981-2004.

[2] Bipartisan Policy Center,

Amy Daly is Project Angel Heart’s director of marketing and communications. While the majority of her professional experience is in nonprofit fundraising and communications, she also loves learning and talking about nutrition, which led her to pursue a certification in holistic nutrition from Bauman College in 2011. She’s psyched to be able to combine her experience in marketing and fundraising with her passion for nutrition at Project Angel Heart. Amy has a BA in journalism from Colorado State University and an MBA from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. In her spare time, she enjoys inventing wild and silly stories for her 3-year-old daughter, reading (and occasionally finishing) a good novel, and exploring Colorado.