CSUN and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Launch Campus Sodium Reduction Initiative

CSUN and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have announced a partnership to reduce sodium consumption. Celebrating that partnership, from left, are Karmen Ovsepyan, assistant director of Marilyn Magaram Center; Michelle Wood, program manger for the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health; Annette Besnilian, Executive Director of the Magaram Center; Dr. Tony Kuo, director the Dept. of Public Health's Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention; state Sen. Robert Hertzberg; Brenda Robles, evaluation lead with the Dept. of Public Health; Allison Kwan, of the Dept. of Public Health; Stephani Cook, of the Dept. of Public Health; Ranjana Wickramasekran and Mariana Reyes. Photo courtesy of Annette Beesnillian.

CSUN and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have announced a partnership to reduce sodium consumption. Celebrating the partnership, from left, are Karmen Ovsepyan, associate director of Marilyn Magaram Center; Michelle Wood, program manager for the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health; Annette Besnilian, executive director of the Magaram Center; Dr. Tony Kuo, director the Dept. of Public Health’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention; state Sen. Robert Hertzberg; Brenda Robles, evaluation lead with the Dept. of Public Health; Allison Kwan, of the Dept. of Public Health; Stephani Cook, of the Dept. of Public Health; Ranjana Wickramasekran and Mariana Reyes. Photo courtesy of Annette Besnilian.


Excess sodium consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke — two leading causes of death among Los Angeles County residents.

California State University, Northridge’s Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDHP) have announced a partnership to reduce sodium consumption with the launch of LACDHP’s Sodium Reduction Initiative (SRI).

“Partnering with Public Health to reduce sodium in foods sold or served on campus further expands CSUN’s commitment to supporting the health and wellness of more than 45,000 students, faculty and staff,” said Annette Besnilian, executive director of the Marilyn Magaram Center.

The partnership with CSUN kicks off with the launch of the SRI’s “Eat Your Best” campaign, and a food demonstration presented by CSUN’s campus dining services and the Marilyn Magaram Center. “Eat Your Best” promotes serving fresh and delicious plant-based foods as a strategy to reduce sodium on university campuses and among health care providers.

“Public Health’s partnership with CSUN, with its diverse student body, campus visitors and employee population, can act as a model for improving food environments in large-scale settings, providing people with the ability to choose healthier options and ultimately reduce the burden of chronic disease,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

This work builds upon existing endeavors such as the “Real Food Challenge,” a national student movement promoting sustainable food systems. The partnership with Public Health is working toward creating shifts in providing delicious healthy and well-balanced meals to the CSUN campus community.

“Lowering sodium intake can help improve health and lower risk of disease,” Besnilian said. “The Marilyn Magaram Center will be collaborating with campus dining, and utilizing recipes from SRI to lower the sodium content in food served on campus.

“It is important to make sustainable changes in the campus environment. Using herbs and plant-based foods in recipes can be easy, healthy and delicious. We look forward to this collaboration.”

The SRI is supported in part by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information visit: https://www.csun.edu/marilyn-magaram-center.

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