Sodium-reduction Efforts Starting to Bear Fruit

DALLAS — A recent study found that sodium levels decreased in a sample of top-selling packaged foods by about 7{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} from 2009 to the beginning of 2015, reflecting the success of coordinated efforts to reduce sodium.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, evaluated the efforts of the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), which aims to reduce sodium in the food supply by encouraging food companies to voluntarily commit to sodium targets. In 2009, the NSRI set two sets of targets (for 2012 and for 2014) for sodium levels in a variety of food categories. By 2014, 45{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of food products and 26{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of food categories met 2012 targets, while 3{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of food categories met 2014 targets.

American Heart Assoc. CEO Nancy Brown applauded the progress of the initiative, while pointing out there’s still plenty of work to do.

“This is a noteworthy reduction, but it is not enough to eliminate the threats posed by sodium,” she said. “Robust, clear science shows that excessive amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s critical to give consumers more control over how much sodium they eat, and fortunately there is a plan in place to make this possible. The FDA’s voluntary sodium targets give the food industry a goal to work toward, and we encourage the FDA to continue dialogue with industry and finalize goals promptly to support the health of all Americans. We urge all food manufacturers and restaurants to take notice and join the companies who have already committed to reduce sodium in their products.”