266587 Lowering sodium in the school food environment is elementary: Successful strategies from Broome County Sodium Reduction in Communities School Project

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 5:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Yvonne A. M. Johnston, MS, RN, FNP , Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Julie Tucker, RD, CDN, SNS , Broome Tioga BOCES Food Services, Binghamton, NY
Marissa Lamphere, MST , Broome County Health Department, Binghamton, NY
Introduction: School age children may be exposed to high levels of sodium from foods consumed in the school environment. A high sodium diet in children can increase the risk for premature onset of chronic diseases. The Broome County Sodium Reduction in Communities Project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is collaborating with local school food service champions and building on previous successes of a consolidated school food purchasing model to effectively reduce sodium in school lunches and competitive foods. Methods: This project aimed to reduce the sodium in school lunches through: biannual school food service vendor shows featuring products low in sodium, food bid procurement language that specified preference for vendors with lower sodium products, monthly taste testing of lower sodium products, cost and nutrient analysis of lower sodium options and school wellness policy trainings. Results: The amount of sodium in elementary school lunches consumed by 20,000 students was reduced in one year from 1,500 mg to 1,350 mg and will be reduced to 1,000 mg over the course of the three-year project. Fifteen school districts' wellness policies are being amended to include nutrient standards regarding sodium in competitive foods. Discussion: Early findings suggest using a step-down approach to sodium reduction appears to be suitable for students and staff alike. A high level of participation and buy-in from school food service staff and students can create the demand for reduction of sodium in the school food environment with emphasis on taste acceptability, cost, and availability of products.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify strategies for working with school food service programs to drive the demand for accessibility and availability of healthier, lower sodium food items especially for elementary school children. 2. Describe how a consolidated school food service purchasing system and comprehensive school wellness policies can lower sodium content of school meals and foods served or sold in schools outside of school meals. 3. Explain how to design an effective evaluation plan that corresponds with a population-based public health initiative to decrease sodium in the food supply, specifically in the school environment.

Keywords: Nutrition, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold Masters Degrees in Nursing and Public Health with background in epidemiology, chronic disease, and chronic disease prevention across the lifespan. I conducted the 2010-2013 Community Health Assessment for Broome County and have provided local level program evaluation for several CDC program grants including: Steps to a HealthierUS, Strategic Alliance for Health, and Sodium Reduction in Communities. I am a Clinical Assistant Professor at Binghamton University teaching at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.