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FDA guidance to food industry aims to reduce sodium consumption

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WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2021 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released new voluntary sodium targets for commercially processed, packaged and prepared foods. The targets, first released in draft form in 2016, are intended to address excess sodium consumption and its negative impact on public health.

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, issued the following statement in support of the targets:

“The American Heart Association applauds the FDA’s new voluntary guidance, which will play a critical role in helping people across the country achieve healthier levels of sodium and improved well-being overall. These targets will be an important driver to reduce sodium consumption, which can have significant health benefits and lead to lower medical costs.

“Lowering sodium levels in the food supply would reduce risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, heart attack and death in addition to saving billions of dollars in health-care costs over the next decade. Many members of the food and restaurant industry have begun to reduce sodium in their products. We strongly encourage the industry as a whole to adopt these targets and build upon existing efforts to reduce sodium in their products and meals.

“While educating the public about the consequences of consuming too much sodium is a valuable tool, it is not enough to truly impact consumers’ health due to the high amount of sodium in the food supply. The adoption of these targets will be a crucial step in helping countless people across the country decrease their sodium intake.

“The FDA’s targets represent an important step forward, but lowering sodium intake to 3,000mg per day is not enough. Lowering sodium further to 2,300mg could prevent an estimated 450,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, gain 2 million quality-adjusted life years and save approximately $40 billion in health-care costs over a 20-year period. We urge the FDA to follow today’s action with additional targets to further lower the amount of sodium in the food supply and help people in America attain an appropriate sodium intake.”

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

For media inquiries please contact:

Arielle Beer: 202.785.7902; arielle.beer@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org

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U.S. Task Force Reconsiders Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Use for Preventing Heart Attacks in Adults Over 60

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Older adults without heart disease shouldn’t take daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, an influential health guidelines group said in preliminary updated advice released Tuesday.

Bleeding risks for adults in their 60s and up who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke outweigh any potential benefits from aspirin, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in its draft guidance.

For the first time, the panel said there may be a small benefit for adults in their 40s who have no bleeding risks. For those in their 50s, the panel softened advice and said evidence of benefit is less clear.
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The recommendations are meant for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity or other conditions that increase their chances for a heart attack or stroke. Regardless of age, adults should talk with their doctors about stopping or starting aspirin to make sure it’s the right choice for them, said task force member Dr. John Wong, a primary-care expert at Tufts Medical Center.

Aspirin use can cause serious harms, and risk increases with age,’’ he said.

If finalized, the advice for older adults would backtrack on recommendations the panel issued in 2016 for helping prevent a first heart attack and stroke, but it would be in line with more recent guidelines from other medical groups.

Doctors have long recommended daily low-dose aspirin for many patients who already have had a heart attack or stroke. The task force guidance does not change that advice.

The task force previously said a daily aspirin might also protect against colorectal cancer for some adults in their 50s and 60s, but the updated guidance says more evidence of any benefit is needed.

The guidance was posted online to allow for public comments until Nov. 8. The group will evaluate that input and then make a final decision.

The independent panel of disease-prevention experts analyzes medical research and literature and issues periodic advice on measures to help keep Americans healthy. Newer studies and a re-analysis of older research prompted the updated advice, Wong said.

Aspirin is best known as a pain reliever but it is also a blood thinner that can reduce chances for blood clots. But aspirin also has risks, even at low doses—mainly bleeding in the digestive tract or ulcers, both of which can be life-threatening.

Dr. Lauren Block, an internist-researcher at Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, said the guidance is important because so many adults take aspirin even though they have never had a heart attack or stroke.

Block, who is not on the task force, recently switched one of her patients from aspirin to a cholesterol-lowering statin drug because of the potential harms.

The patient, 70-year-old Richard Schrafel, has high blood pressure and knows about his heart attack risks. Schrafel, president of a paperboard-distribution business, said he never had any ill effects from aspirin, but he is taking the new guidance seriously.

Rita Seefeldt, 63, also has high blood pressure and took a daily aspirin for about a decade until her doctor told her two years ago to stop.

“He said they changed their minds on that,’’ recalled the retired elementary school teacher from Milwaukee. She said she understands that science evolves.

Wong acknowledged that the backtracking might leave some patients frustrated and wondering why scientists can’t make up their minds.

“It’s a fair question,’’ he said. ‘’What’s really important to know is that evidence changes over time.’’


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Experts Urge Flu Shots for Kids This Year

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nurse giving child a vaccine

A rebound in the number and severity of flu cases is predicted for the 2021-22 season, and experts are recommending that everyone over the age of 6 months get their annual flu shot.

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5 lifestyle tips for a healthy fall

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Reclaim habits that benefit body and mind, with tips from the American Heart Association





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A plant-based diet is the best way to avoid heart disease, according to a new report

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Researchers advise consuming whole foods and avoiding red and processed meat.





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Late for everything? Here are 7 tips to help you break the habit.

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A constant struggle to be on time could be because of your personality or ADHD, but there are strategies for overcoming it.





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