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AAP Statement in Response to FDA's Voluntary Guidance on Reducing Sodium Levels in Food

6/1/2016 by: Benard P. Dreyer, MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics

​"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports the new draft guidance issued today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish voluntary targets for industry intended to help Americans gradually reduce their sodium intake as a step in the right direction. Foods high in sodium can contribute to higher blood pressure in children and adolescents, which are risk factors for health challenges like obesity and cardiovascular disease. Foods high in sodium are also incredibly common in the diets of children and adolescents.

"Almost 80% of the salt content in our diets comes from processed foods like bread, soups, salty snacks, fast food, canned food, or processed meats. Given how prevalent these foods are in the diets of millions of children and their parents, today's announcement will empower parents who want to take steps to reduce the amount of sodium they and their children consume. Americans on average eat about 1 to 3 teaspoons of salt a day, but the science shows us that the average daily sodium requirement is much less, amounting to about half a teaspoon of salt a day for children. Much like the updates to the food sold in schools, which have led to higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and foods lower in fat and sodium, FDA's draft guidance is grounded in the totality of the scientific evidence which supports sodium reduction from current intake levels. The guidance applies to some common baby and toddler foods, as well as processed foods and foods served in restaurants.

"Although voluntary not mandatory, the Academy welcomes this practical step to improve the quality of Americans' diets and ultimately the health of children and urges industry to work to achieve the proposed reductions in the draft guidance without delay."

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.