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Campaign focuses on lowering sodium

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has unveiled a new statewide campaign to alert residents to the amount of salt in processed foods. The “Choose Less Sodium” campaign materials are designed to educate Massachusetts residents about the negative health impacts of excess sodium and encourage people to make more informed choices when purchasing processed foods and ordering meals at restaurants.
The average American eats about 50 percent more salt than is recommended by health experts. However, the main culprit isn’t the salt shaker — almost 80 percent of the sodium people consume has been added by food manufacturers and restaurants during processing, packaging, or cooking.
“We know that too much salt can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke,” DPH Medical Director Dr. Lauren Smith said. “This campaign is designed to give people simple, common-sense ways to avoid excess sodium, whether they’re choosing items in the supermarket aisle or ordering from a restaurant menu.”
The campaign will appear in multiple formats across the state, including a televised public service announcement (PSA), transit display advertisements in the 10 major transportation systems in Massachusetts, and as an informational poster at health care provider offices, community health centers, and other community locations. The materials will also be available in Spanish and Portuguese.
In addition, DPH has developed a sodium fact sheet and other materials (available at www.mass.gov/dph/salt) to help residents make healthier choices when purchasing food outside the home. These include:
  • Fresh meats have less salt than processed items such as bacon, deli meats, sausage, ham and hot dogs.
  • Fresh and frozen vegetables have less salt than canned vegetables.
  • Look for food items labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium,” particularly with salad dressings and soups.
  • If there are no lower sodium options — as is often the case with breads and baked goods — reduce portion size instead.
  • When dining out, request that your meal is prepared without adding salt.
  • Take control of your salt intake by making more meals at home; find heart healthy recipes at www.mass.gov/massinmotion.
ore than a quarter of adults in Massachusetts have high blood pressure, and many either do not know it or are not treating it as prescribed by their doctor. High blood pressure contributes to cardiovascular disease, which accounts for more than 100,000 hospitalizations and 17,000 deaths every year in the state.
To view the new campaign materials and learn more about how to cut the excess sodium from your diet, visit www.mass.gov/dph/salt .
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