Boston Public Health Commission Launches ‘Swap the Salt’ Campaign

New dual-language public health awareness initiative highlights sodium reduction techniques.

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is launching a new public health campaign that will ask residents to consume less sodium. That’s right, the city is asking you to step away from salt.

The campaign will be launched in English and Spanish, and will offer Baystater’s several tips on how to reduce sodium intake such as, checking nutrition labels while shopping and using spices as a salt alternative while cooking at home.

BPHC says that they worked closely with community groups, residents, and other stakeholders to develop the campaign and ensure the messaging was appropriately translated in Spanish.

According to the BPHC, consuming high levels of sodium can lead to the development of high blood pressure, or hypertension, and currently, the average American consumes about 50 percent more than the recommended daily allowance of sodium. In their report, the commission details just how bad the rates of hypertension are here in Boston:

In Boston, rates of hypertension are disproportionately high in Black and Latino communities where approximately 76 percent  of adults 65 and older report living with high blood pressure, compared to 61 per of this age group in Boston overall. Through this campaign, BPHC aims to reach all Boston residents, particularly those that are disproportionately affected by hypertension.

The new campaign is called “Swap the Salt/ Déjà La Sal” and will focus on the “hidden salt” in processed and packaged foods and to encourage substitution with healthier alternatives. “The Commission hopes this new and innovative awareness campaign will underscore ways shoppers can ‘spot the salt’ in foods commonly thought to be healthy, such as whole wheat bread, canned vegetables, cereal, lunch meat, and frozen meals,” the report says.

“Through education, we hope to curb these preventable, chronic conditions and help residents make informed dietary decisions,” said Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, in a statement. “Sodium content, and its impact on a person’s health, is often overlooked. We hope even small changes will improve our community’s health and lessen the burden of hypertension in Boston’s neighborhoods.”

The BPHC created a new website that offers tips and suggestions. Visit bphc.org/SwapTheSalt for more information. For the tips in Spanish, visit: bphc.org/DejaLaSal.

 

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