Subway Ads Warn New Yorkers About Sodium

By Zachary Stieber On April 1, 2013 @ 9:06 pm In New York City | No Comments

Ads warning people about consuming too much salt, which will run in subway cars through April 1. (Department of Health)

Ads warning people about consuming too much salt, which will run in subway cars through April 1. (Department of Health)

NEW YORK—Ads in subway cars will encourage New Yorkers to choose brands with less sodium, the latest in a range of public health initiatives under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Along with people eating lots of sugar, consuming salt leads to two of the leading causes of death—heart disease and stroke—according to the city’s Department of Health. And the salt usually isn’t easy to taste, in a range of packaged foods.

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“Most of the salt in our diets comes from packaged food—food that may not even taste salty, such as bread,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the department, in a statement. 

Officials weren’t able to provide a dollar figure for the initiative on Monday evening, but said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paid for part of the ad campaign.

Bloomberg, at City Hall not two months ago, announced 21 companies have cut salt levels under an initiative spurred by the markedly health-conscious mayor. 

Other health groups also have pressed the issue, and some companies have embarked on their own salt-reduction plans.

Sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, but the CDC has found the average American consumes about 43 percent more than that.

There has been some scientific debate in recent years over how dangerous dietary salt is, and the Salt Institute, a trade association, has called New York City’s salt reduction initiative misguided. The group didn’t immediately respond to email inquiries Monday evening about the new ad campaign.

Some of Bloomberg’s other initiatives of note include the recently stalled large sugary drink ban, and starting the letter grades seen on restaurant windows. 

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The Department of Health is outlining ways people can cut down on salt, including choosing fresh foods over packaged foods, and requesting that meals are made without added salt at restaurants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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