The US Food and Drug Administration marked another National Nutrition Month in March by highlighting the role of quality nutrition, as well as how a good diet and a balanced lifestyle impact people’s lives and help in decreasing diet-related chronic diseases and conditions.
According to the FDA, over “one million Americans die from diet-related diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancers.” Cardiovascular disease in 2020 alone, claimed the lives of approximately 800,000 individuals in the United States, a number significantly higher than the death toll of COVID-19 for that same year, the FDA added.
In addition to cardiovascular disease, obesity has been reported to have reached “historic levels in children and adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Among the most affected, are individuals from racial and ethnic minorities, as well as people of lower-income, the FDA notes. For example, six in 10 non-Hispanic Black adults were reported to experience high blood pressure, while American Indians and Alaska Natives are reported to experience diabetes, primarily Type 2, at higher rates than other race-ethnicity groups.
One approach the FDA took in order to support a healthier food supply in October 2021 was to establish voluntary short-term sodium reduction targets for commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods.
“Food labeling is another tool in the agency’s toolbox that we are employing to create a healthier food supply and empower consumers with information. After the FDA required trans fat to be declared on the Nutrition Facts label, there was an 80% reduction in trans fat in the food supply. Experts have said that this led to the prevention of tens of thousands of cases of cardiovascular disease and saved numerous lives,” the FDA explained.