Sodium Reduction


State Stories: Sodium Reduction and Healthy Procurement Efforts

Missouri’s Million Hearts Initiative Sparks Efforts to Reduce Sodium

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHHS) is tackling sodium reduction through implementation of the national Million Hearts Initiative, convening key partners, and developing nutrition guidelines for state agencies and other public service venues. In 2011, DHHS formed the Sodium Knowledge in Practice (SKIP) Partnership, a voluntary network of diverse individuals representing state and local health organizations in Missouri. The receipt of CDC’s 1305 grant in September of 2013 provided an avenue for SKIP to enhance its activities.

The SKIP initiative includes sharing of knowledge, expertise and effective strategies for reducing sodium consumption in Missouri, especially among disparate populations at greatest risk for heart disease and stroke. SKIP coordinates the technical expertise from CDC, the National Salt Reduction Initiative, American Heart and Stroke Association, and the University of Missouri, as well as the development of joint activities to increase consumer awareness of the health effects of excessive sodium consumption. SKIP activities have enabled populations at risk to increase knowledge of sodium consumption guidelines based on individual risk factors and to learn strategies for reducing individual sodium consumption. In an effort to solidify activities mentioned above, SKIP developed a Call to Action sodium issue brief, Show Me Less Sodium, and, in collaboration with the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition, launched a marketing campaign to raise awareness about the role sodium plays in heart health targeted at high-risk groups.

In addition to SKIP’s activities, DHSS is working with communities to implement policy and environmental changes to increase access to healthier foods. Part of this work includes the development of “Stock Healthy,Shop Healthy” toolkits for retailers and community networks working to provide healthier foods in retail settings. DHSS is also working with ambassadors from each state agency on nutrition guidelines for state agencies. As an initial step, DHSS developed and distributed a survey to assess food preferences among state employees and is currently developing guidelines.