Academy Supports Sodium Technical Assistance Funding for Schools

04/24/2019 - High salt intake is linked to elevated blood pressure, even in youth, which later in life can lead to heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death, disability, and high healthcare costs. One in seven children aged 12 to 19 years has elevated blood pressure, which increases risk of heart disease, stroke and adult hypertension.

This week, the Academy joined leading children's health advocates in urging the leadership of both the House and Senate appropriation subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies to include support for critical technical assistance to aid schools in successful sodium reduction in their 2020 spending bill.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, virtually all schools are meeting the first sodium-reduction targets, which is a great step toward improving health in children. However, Target 1 levels are still above the recommended amounts for sodium consumption for children and many programs need technical assistance to meet Target 2.

In addition to targeted technical assistance funding, the letter asks the USDA to provide a report to Congress detailing sodium reduction technical assistance efforts by the Department and progress by schools to meet the second sodium-reduction targets. The transparency afforded by the report will make clear how sodium reduction efforts are progressing and allow USDA and other stakeholders to identify unique challenges, available resources, and efforts needed to support child nutrition and health.