Food Security and Health Promoting Food Systems

Project Overview

The health and well-being of a company’s workforce is vital to its bottom line. Employees who suffer from preventable chronic diseases miss more work, have higher health care costs, and submit more disability and workers compensation claims than healthy workers.

Spokane Regional Health District initiated its Wellworks initiative to support companies who consider employee health an integral part of their strategies for success and and long-term prosperity. Central to the initiative is Worksite Wellness Toolkit: Investing in What Works, which, among such topics as physical activity and breastfeeding in the workplace, also details strategies for increasing access to healthy foods for staff and consumers alike.

Sodium Reduction

High intake of dietary sodium is associated with elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States. From a public health perspective, this makes controlling hypertension an important issue. Most sodium consumed by Americans comes from processed and restaurant foods. Because these sources make up a large part of the American diet and because consumers have little control over the level of sodium in these foods, it is often difficult for consumers to reduce their sodium intake.

Reducing sodium intake to levels consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is also a priority for Spokane Regional Health District. The agency is working to reduce sodium intake by:

  • Increasing the availability of lower sodium foods at non-chain independent restaurants.
  • Implementing food service guidelines to increase the availability of lower sodium foods in public and private work site cafeterias.

To learn more about the methods, progress, and lessons learned read these Success Stories.

Worksite Wellness Toolkit