Washington, D.C. – As New York City officials unveil a plan to encourage food manufacturers and restaurants across the country to cut down on the amount of salt they use, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today praised the city’s efforts to promote healthier food choices. Senator Gillibrand is a leading cosponsor of the MEAL Act – legislation to require chain restaurants to follow New York City’s lead and post calorie information on menus nationwide.
“New York city’s plan to reduce salt content will result in healthier food options across the country. From smoke-free laws to healthier school lunches, New York City inspires the nation to promote healthier choices and combat obesity. As we grapple with rising health care costs and diabetes rates, I am working to foster a national dialogue about how we ensure our children and all citizens have access to local healthy food.”
High levels of salt and sodium in food can lead to high blood pressure and other heart conditions – the nation’s leading killer. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular illness accounts for over 40 percent of all deaths in America. The American Heart Association also estimates that cardiovascular illness will cost the United States $475 billion in health care costs, lost productivity and disability in 2009 alone.
As the first New Yorker to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years, Senator Gillibrand has made improving nutrition, combating childhood obesity, and setting new safety standards for the food we eat a top priority.
Senator Gillibrand unveiled her plan to ban all trans fats in school meals, rid schools of sugary snacks and sodas, increase the federal reimbursement rate for schools participating in the National School Lunch program so they can afford healthier, more nutritional meals for students, make the program’s enrollment process easier for families, and offer our children more opportunities to get the amount of exercise they need to stay healthy.
Senator Gillibrand also has a plan to overhaul our food safety laws by upgrading inspection, mandating testing for all ground beef, improving recall response and increasing public education.