Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Murray R Berkowitz, MA, MS, MPH

Second Advisor

Brian M Matayoshi, PhD

Third Advisor

Melinda Maris, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Brian M Matayoshi, PhD


In many societies, high salt intake is a continuing issue in adults, and is of growing concern in children due to the prevalence of processed foods. In response, the USDA has set three targets for sodium in meals offered in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the National School Breakfast Program (NSBP). This 8-year goal is meant to decrease overall sodium levels in both meal programs. However, many associated with school nutrition ask if there is significant evidence to show what effect sodium plays on children’s health, and thus determine if these targets are necessary or achievable. In addressing this question, a review of published articles was performed to determine the role of sodium in children’s health. The review was followed by an analysis of sodium levels in food from the Cobb County School Nutrition Program (SNP). Data from the past 6 years was utilized to forecast future sodium levels and determine if the USDA’s stated targets could be reached. In the review, it was determined that high sodium intake could negatively affect a child’s blood pressure, contribute to the development of obesity, increase the likelihood of developing left ventricular hypertrophy, and contribute to further irritation of existing asthma. The Cobb County SNP reached the first sodium level target in July of 2014, and the data indicates the capability to reach the second target. However, the third target will prove more difficult to achieve.