Washington, D.C. – American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) memo to state agencies responsible for school meal programs.
The memo outlines the next phase of lowering sodium and sets target two for school year 2017-2018:
“Today’s action by the USDA is another giant step forward in improving our children’s health by reducing the sodium in school meals. Science clearly supports lowering sodium to moderate levels in the foods kids eat at school. Young people are consuming too much and without reasonable sodium reduction, they are at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, which can lead to premature heart disease, stroke and other chronic health issues.
Fortunately, the detailed information shared today will go a long way in helping schools around the country achieve the second phase of sodium reduction in the foods they serve their students, if they haven’t already done so. We praise USDA for reassuring our nation’s schools and giving them a sense of certainty regarding these targets.
The extended timeline also affords schools extra time to achieve this next goal without the risk of financial consequences. We commend the USDA for providing schools with additional time and the technical assistance they may need as they work toward meeting the second phase target.
Reducing children’s daily salt intake is absolutely critical to their future health and success. Our association stands ready to help schools reduce sodium and improve the nutrition in school meals overall.”