Sodium Reduction


State Stories: Sodium Reduction and Healthy Procurement Efforts

Montana Assesses Nutrition Guidelines within Department of Public Health and Human Services

The Montana Cardiovascular Health (CVH) Program within the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is working toward a heart healthy and stroke free Montana through implementation of the Montana Heart Disease Prevention State Plan for 2011-2015. One of the objectives in the State Plan to reduce sodium intake is to increase the number of sodium procurement policies or meeting guidelines for foods purchased by, or served in, Montana organizations by December 2015. To begin this work, CVH administered a sodium/trans fat survey to all 16 Divisions and Institutions within DPHHS to assess existing nutrition guidelines. The survey revealed that of the ten Divisions that purchase and distribute food/beverages to clients, only two have procurement policies or written nutrition standards. They also found that most Divisions and Institutions do not voluntarily follow nutrition standards for foods offered to employees at meetings and events, and that there were no nutrition standards for vending machines in DPHHS buildings. These results highlighted the need for DPHHS nutrition policies that can promote the health of Montana residents and state employees. In response to the survey, DPHHS developed nutrition guidelines for meetings, as well as standards for foods served in snack bars and cafeterias and vending machines in DPHHS buildings.