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Statement by HHS Xavier Becerra on FDA Sodium Reduction Guidance

Background

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued new guidance that aims to reduce the amount of sodium in our U.S. food supply.  Increased sodium consumption has long been linked to high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.  More than 4 in 10 American adults have high blood pressure, and the numbers are even worse across minority populations. Roughly 6 in 10 non-Latino Black adults have high blood pressure, for example. The benefits of reducing sodium in our diets include improved health outcomes, longevity, and reduced medical bills. Researchers estimate that lowering U.S. sodium intake by roughly 40 percent over a decade could save 500,000 lives and nearly $100 billion in health care costs.

Statement by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra

“We need to get to a place as a nation where we not only react to health scares but work hard to prevent them. That requires thinking about the food we eat – or, better put, the food we don’t. With FDA’s new recommendations, we get one step closer to improving health outcomes.

“The human and economic costs of diet-related diseases are staggering. Hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year from chronic disease related to poor nutrition, and by some estimates, the total economic costs range upwards to a trillion dollars per year. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to ensure everyone has access to healthy and nutritious food. Improving the quality of food and nutrition is not only important to boost individual health outcomes – it is an essential step towards tackling widespread health disparities.” 

“FDA’s guidance marks a generational opportunity to turn the tide against diet-related chronic disease and work to end health disparities, particularly across communities of color.”