Eating healthy is one of the easiest and smartest ways for individuals to take control of their health. Unfortunately, too many Americans consume too many foods high in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium, and they eat too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, placing them at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Among modifiable risk factors, poor dietary habits are a leading cause of death and disability.
Although diet quality has been steadily improving in the U.S. during the past two decades, overall dietary quality is still poor.
Unfortunately, many Americans live in environments that do not support heart-healthy lifestyles. That is why the American Heart Association supports policies that promote healthy eating in work places and schools; encourage food producers, restaurants, and retail establishments to make healthy choices widely available and more affordable, particularly in underserved rural and urban areas; and provide Americans with guidance to make informed decisions. Strong nutrition policies such as these are critical to keep Americans in good health.
The association is working on several fronts to improve Americans eating habits. Currently, we are working hard to protect nutrition standards in school meals and access to vulnerable children. During the farm bill, we formulated and supported strong policies to improve diet quality, as well as protecting the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program. We continue to push for policies that would help decrease sugary beverage consumption. Shaping and supporting implementation of FDA nutrition initiatives including menu labeling, Nutrition Facts Panel, health claims, and sodium reduction are other areas in which we work. We also serve as a resource during the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.