American Heart Association’s CEO, Nancy Brown comments on NYC sodium proposal
DALLAS – June 9, 2015 - Today the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced a proposal to introduce a warning label on restaurant menu items exceeding 2,300 mg of sodium. This level of sodium should not be exceeded in an entire day, and consuming that amount (or more) in a single meal would set up an individual to be well in excess of recommended healthy amounts. Unfortunately, many restaurant meals provide more than a whole day's worth of sodium. The American Heart Association sees this proposal as an opportunity to help people make more informed food choices while eating out so they can live a healthier life.
Excess sodium intake correlates to an increased risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Consumers deserve to have more control over their health and more information at point-of-purchase instead of letting the food industry decide for them. Nearly 80 percent of Americans’ sodium intake comes from packaged and restaurant foods. While consumers can control how much salt they use at the table, salt that is pre-added to our food cannot be taken out.
Any meaningful strategy to reduce sodium intake at the population level and improve the health of all Americans must involve the efforts of government officials, food manufacturers, food processors and the restaurant industry. The American Heart Association applauds the NYC DOHMH for evaluating this initiative as well as those in the food industry who have already worked to reduce the sodium in their menu items. The association hopes these kinds of warning labels will lead to more industry innovation and consumer empowerment.
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