4400.1 Sodium in School Meals and in the Local Food Environment

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Reducing Americansí intake of sodium has been an important but elusive public health goal for many years. Unfortunately, the intake of sodium in the U.S. has remained essentially unchanged and has even trended upward since the early 1970ís. Recommended strategies and targets for sodium intake were released in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States. In implementing the IOMís recommendations, which stress a gradual, step-wise approach to sodium reduction, it is necessary to understand the food environment because it is key to formulating strategies for change. Very little of the sodium in foods is naturally occurring; most of it is added by the food industry in the form of sodium chloride and other sodium-containing compounds. Reducing the sodium content of school meals is one of the recommendations by the IOM to reduce U.S. sodium intake and is required by the USDAís new meal standards. Children may be exposed to high levels of sodium from foods consumed in the school environment, which can lead to an increased risk for the premature onset of chronic diseases. Presenters will describe the association of sodium intake with the retail food environment, assess the level of consumer support for policies lowering sodium content of school cafeteria foods, discuss promising strategies for lowering overall dietary sodium content in schools, and describe the process and challenges along with lessons learned while implementing a successful system-level procurement intervention within a large school system.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe sodium intake among U.S. adults and how it may be influenced and measured in the retail food environment; and 2. Discuss U.S. consumer support for sodium reduction policies in school cafeterias and several promising strategies along with lessons-learned for lowering overall dietary sodium content in school systems.

Regional differences in the association of local food environment and sodium intake
Sophia Greer, MPH, Greg Schwartz, MS, Linda Schieb, MSPH, Stephen Onufrak, PhD and Sohyun Park, PhD, MS
Public support for policies to reduce the sodium content in school cafeterias
Sheena Patel, MPH, Janelle Gunn, MPH, RD, Caitlin Merlo, MPH, RD, Xin Tong, MPH and Mary E. Cogswell, DrPH
Sodium Reduction in Communities Program: Lessons learned from reducing sodium content in school meals in Los Angeles County, California
Patricia L. Cummings, MPH, Lindsey Burbage, MPH, Michelle Wood, MPP, Brenda Robles, MPH, Gloria Kim, MPH and Tony Kuo, MD, MSHS

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Food and Nutrition
Endorsed by: Maternal and Child Health, School Health Education and Services, Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

See more of: Food and Nutrition