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History of the Sodium Reduction in Communities Program

Soup cans showing the nutritional content.

Grantees of the Sodium Reduction in Communities Program work to replace products in local hospitals, schools, and other organizations with lower sodium options.

CDC launched the Sodium Reduction in Communities Program (SRCP) in 2010 with a 3-year demonstration program. Currently, CDC funds eight grantees working with local schools, hospitals, worksites, and meal programs to lower the amount of sodium in foods purchased and prepared by these organizations.

Learn more about the history of SRCP and its role in helping Americans reduce their sodium intake.

Exploring Change at the Community Level: 2010–2013

In September 2010, CDC funded five recipients to conduct community-level sodium reduction work. This demonstration program sought to reduce sodium consumption and find out whether consumers would accept the reduction.

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Moving Forward: 2013–2016

Based on lessons learned during the demonstration, CDC awarded funding in 2013 to 10 communities to start and test promising sodium reduction strategies. These communities worked to reduce sodium intake by adding lower sodium options in worksites, hospitals, distributive meal programs, early care and education settings, and independent restaurants.

Each of the 2013 awardees of this program documented their successes in the following areas:

  • Developing nutrition standards, such as worksite-specific or county-wide food service guidelines that include sodium limits for meals served.
  • Working directly with food service professionals on reducing the sodium content of foods purchased or prepared in the kitchen.
  • Working with entities that serve or sell food to facilitate standardized purchasing of lower sodium options.
  • Developing salt-free cooking practices.

These strategies increase consumers’ options of healthier choices, because salt can be added but not removed by the consumer.

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Building on Lessons Learned: 2016–2021

CDC funded eight communities in 2016 to continue to improve nutrition and increase access to lower sodium options.

Although findings from the 2010–2013 and 2013–2016 awardees of the program show that sodium reduction is possible and acceptable to consumers, more work is needed to determine if these interventions result in sustainable, population-wide reductions in sodium consumption; how these strategies influence the supply and help to identify lower sodium products; and if effective strategies can be scaled to increase impact.

CDC will measure specific outcomes to determine whether these strategies meet programmatic goals in the priority venues. CDC will base the assessment on both local and cross-site evaluations.

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