DALLAS, Feb. 24, 2016 – The American Heart Association is pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing which allows certain restaurant chains to move forward on March 1st with implementation of a ‘warning’ designation on the menu when any food item exceeds 2300 mg of sodium. Many restaurants are already implementing the policy, and now all New Yorkers will have better information to help them make better decisions. Policies like this could contribute to saving many thousands of lives and billions of dollars in healthcare costs.
A single restaurant meal oftentimes has more sodium in it than a consumer should have for the entire day. Americans deserve the opportunity to choose how much sodium they are eating. Right now, that decision has been made for them by food manufacturers and the restaurant industry because nearly 80% of the sodium we consume comes from packaged, prepared and restaurant foods.
“This sodium warning label identifies extreme levels of sodium on restaurant menus. Information like this will empower people to make choices that are better for their health. The science is clear: lowering sodium intake lowers blood pressure in adults and children. Lower blood pressure means better heart health for Americans,” said Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH, a spokesperson for the AHA, and the Director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research.
The AHA supports strategies like the NYC policy that enable consumers to both be more informed about the food they eat, and to make healthier choices. As always, this must be grounded through a strong foundation in science. As an evidence-based organization, the AHA knows that the health of consumers is paramount.
For optimal heart-health, the American Heart Association recommends that Americans should aim to eat no more than 1500 mg of sodium per day, a level associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure. Since the average American’s sodium intake is so excessive, even reducing sodium to no more than 2400/mg/day will produce significant improvement in the population’s blood pressure and heart health.
The AHA is not a party to any lawsuit against food companies. Our focus is on voluntary sodium reduction as a positive step toward a gradual reduction in the amount of sodium in the food supply.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.