American Heart Association comment: Short-term voluntary sodium reduction goals could cut sodium intake across the country

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2021 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released new voluntary sodium targets for commercially processed, packaged and prepared foods. The targets, first released in draft form in 2016, are intended to address excess sodium consumption and its negative impact on public health.

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, issued the following statement in support of the targets:

“The American Heart Association applauds the FDA’s new voluntary guidance, which will play a critical role in helping people across the country achieve healthier levels of sodium and improved well-being overall. These targets will be an important driver to reduce sodium consumption, which can have significant health benefits and lead to lower medical costs.

“Lowering sodium levels in the food supply would reduce risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, heart attack and death in addition to saving billions of dollars in health-care costs over the next decade. Many members of the food and restaurant industry have begun to reduce sodium in their products. We strongly encourage the industry as a whole to adopt these targets and build upon existing efforts to reduce sodium in their products and meals.

“While educating the public about the consequences of consuming too much sodium is a valuable tool, it is not enough to truly impact consumers’ health due to the high amount of sodium in the food supply. The adoption of these targets will be a crucial step in helping countless people across the country decrease their sodium intake.

“The FDA’s targets represent an important step forward, but lowering sodium intake to 3,000mg per day is not enough. Lowering sodium further to 2,300mg could prevent an estimated 450,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, gain 2 million quality-adjusted life years and save approximately $40 billion in health-care costs over a 20-year period. We urge the FDA to follow today’s action with additional targets to further lower the amount of sodium in the food supply and help people in America attain an appropriate sodium intake.”

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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