Maricopa County Sodium and Nutrition Standards Procurement Policy

At a Glance:

Location: Maricopa County, Arizona

Date: 2012

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Meaningful Work and Wealth

Determinants of Health: food access, nutrition, meaningful work and wealth, physical activity, nutrition

Research Methods: Quantitative research, Qualitative research, Secondary, Primary research

Community Types: urban

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Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) conducted an HIA to evaluate county departments’ food procurement policies and nutrition and sodium standards. The HIA explored how proposed policies intended to reduce sodium consumption through better access to affordable, healthy food options could improve public health and cut costs for the county by lowering residents’ blood pressure and incidence of hypertension.

The study team modeled community and county employee populations to predict the health and economic benefits of reducing sodium intake and found a potential decrease in hypertension cases of 5 to 10 percent as a result of a countywide sodium intake reduction. This benefit corresponds with savings on health care and lost worker productivity. For example, a 1 to 10 percent reduction in hypertension cases among the county jail population corresponds to annual health care savings of between $16,302 and $163,024.

The report recommended that the county Department of Public Health adopt internal nutritional standards on procured food to promote future sodium reduction initiatives in the county.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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