Houston Health Department

Health Department Director's statement on FDA's sodium reduction targets

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: June 1, 2016 4:17:58 PM CDT

JOINT STATEMENT FROM HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR STEPHEN WILLIAMS:

PUBLIC OFFICIALS FROM THE U.S.’S FIVE LARGEST CITIES COMMENT ON THE FDA’S SODIUM REDUCTION TARGETS FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY

Leaders of local health departments in Houston, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia applaud the FDA for releasing sodium reduction targets for the food industry. More than 75 percent of sodium in the American diet comes from packaged and restaurant foods, which means that consumers have limited control in determining how much sodium they consume. High sodium intake, a norm for most of the population, increases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.

There is already broad support for sodium reduction, as demonstrated by the 100 public health partners that have urged companies to reduce sodium in their products as part of the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI). This initiative was modeled on a similar sodium reduction model in the United Kingdom, run by the national government, where significant reductions in population sodium intake and blood pressure have occurred. We welcome this federal government action, which reinforces a framework for sodium reduction that local and state governments have endorsed through the NSRI.

The FDA’s targets are a necessary step to result in meaningful sodium reduction by food companies. ________________________________________