Since 2001 New Yorkers’ life expectancy increased by 3 years says New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. That’s mostly because of changes he’s made to the way New Yorkers live: including salt reduction initiatives.
Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Linda I. Gibbs, and Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley today announced 21 companies met one or more of their voluntary commitments to reduce sodium content in pre-packaged or restaurant foods.
The sodium reduction targets were by the National Salt Reduction Initiative – a partnership announced by Mayor Bloomberg in 2008, which is the first-ever nationwide partnership to reduce sodium in the U.S. food supply. These achievements demonstrate that food companies can make important, measureable improvements to the healthfulness of the foods that will appear on shelves across the United States. Most salt in the diet of Americans – nearly 80 percent – comes from packaged or restaurant foods, not table salt or home cooking, making it challenging for any individual to monitor sodium intake, and choose to decrease sodium intake. Approximately, 90 percent of Americans consume too much sodium, much of which comes from foods that do not always taste salty, such as bread, cold-cuts, cookies or tomato sauce. Cutting salt intake lowers blood pressure, a major preventable risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States. Researchers have estimated that reducing daily sodium intake by 1,200 milligrams can prevent up to 92,000 deaths and save up to $24 billion in health care costs each year.
Mike Bloomberg says that 21 food companies have made an effort to take action. “Prior to our National Salt Reduction Initiative, there was no comprehensive approach to lowering sodium in foods, and many questioned whether companies would step up to meet a voluntary pledge,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “These companies have demonstrated their commitment to removing excess sodium from their products and to working with public health authorities toward a shared goal – helping their customers lead longer, healthier lives.”