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.