Americans consume more sodium than is recommended, putting them at risk for developing serious medical conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Because the majority of sodium consumed is found in processed foods and restaurant meals, food service providers have an especially valuable role to play in ensuring that Americans consume a healthy amount of sodium.
The Sodium Reduction: Assessment to Action Tools are easy-to-use, online tools to help food service providers reduce sodium consumption among the people they serve. These tools can help food service managers, dietitians, chefs – and the public health practitioners they may partner with – to meet goals to serve healthier foods to their customers and clients.
These tools help food service providers assess current practices that impact sodium content and consumption, and identify specific action items to take to reduce sodium. They can be used in a variety of food service settings, including congregate meal settings, cafeterias, snack bars, and vending machines.
The two online tools work together:
- The Assessment Tool captures site background information and assesses current policy and practices in four areas: 1) food service guidelines/standards, 2) food purchasing, 3) food preparation, and 4) nutrition promotion.
- The Action Plan Tool helps turn assessment results into action items that sites can select for implementation. Based on assessment results, the Action Plan tool recommends policies and practices to help reduce sodium. Providers can then prioritize the strategies for immediate or later action.
Sites can also conduct a post-assessment after implementing their action plan to monitor progress in sodium reduction efforts.
The Assessment to Action Tools are digital versions of the Sodium Practices Assessment Tool (SPAT) 2.0 and Site Action Plan developed and used by the New York State Department of Health. HRiA translated these tools into a digital format, in collaboration with the National Network of Public Health Institutes through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).