Excessive sodium consumption contributes to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
To (1) identify state and urban local laws addressing adult or general population sodium consumption in foods and beverages and (2) align findings to a previously published evidence classification review, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sodium Quality and Impact of Component (QuIC) evidence assessment.
Systematic collection of sodium reduction laws from all 50 states, the 20 most populous counties in the United States, and the 20 most populous cities in the United States, including Washington, District of Columbia, effective on January 1, 2019. Relevant laws were assigned to 1 or more of 6 interventions: (1) provision of sodium information in restaurants or at point of purchase; (2) consumer incentives to purchase lower sodium foods; and provision of lower sodium offerings in (3) workplaces, (4) vending machines, (5) institutional meal services, and (6) grocery, corner, and convenience stores. The researchers used Westlaw, local policy databases or city Web sites, and general nutrition policy databases to identify relevant laws.
Thirty-nine sodium reduction laws and 10 state laws preempting localities from enacting sodium reduction laws were identified. Sodium reduction laws were more common in local jurisdictions and in the Western United States. Sodium reduction laws addressing meal services (n = 17), workplaces (n = 12), labeling (n = 13), and vending machines (n = 11) were more common, while those addressing grocery stores (n = 2) or consumer incentives (n = 6) were less common. Laws with high QuIC evidence classifications were generally more common than laws with low QuIC evidence classifications.
The distribution of sodium laws in the US differed by region, QuIC classification, and jurisdiction type, indicating influence from public health and nonpublic health factors. Ongoing research is warranted to determine how the strength of public health evidence evolves over time and how those changes correlate with uptake of sodium reduction law.