A Community-Level Sodium Reduction Intervention, Boston, 2013-2015

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To evaluate a community-level sodium-reduction intervention in Boston, Massachusetts. Reducing sodium in the food offerings of community settings may help reduce hypertension disparities.


We examined changes in the proportion of prepackaged foods with greater than 200 milligrams of sodium in 7 hospitals, 8 YMCAs, 4 community health centers, and 2 organizations serving homeless populations. Research assistants documented prepackaged items in cafeterias, kiosks, and vending machines before and after the intervention (2013-2015). We assessed intervention change via linear mixed models accounting for repeated observations.


There were 161 access points at baseline (4347 facings) and 171 (4996 facings) at follow-up. The percentage of prepackaged products with greater than 200 milligrams of sodium decreased from 29.0% at baseline to 21.5% at follow-up (P = .003). Changes were driven by improvements in hospital cafeterias and kiosks (P = .003). The percentage of products with greater than 200 milligrams of sodium in YMCA vending decreased 58% (from 27.2% to 11.5%; P = .017); other organizations had nonsignificant declines.


We found modest reductions in the percentage of higher-sodium prepackaged products across community institutions. Community-level interventions may increase availability of lower-sodium products in the food supply.

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