Washington, D.C., June 9, 2014 –
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who assumed her new role today:
"The American Heart Association congratulates Secretary Burwell and looks forward to working closely with her in the fight against heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers.
We were encouraged to hear Secretary Burwell point to her commitment to educating the public on food consumption and providing access to healthier foods during her Senate hearings. We hope that she not only makes good on this commitment, but will push the Food and Drug Administration to establish limits for the sodium content of packaged and restaurant foods. High-sodium diets put Americans on a path to cardiovascular disease, and some evidence indicates they may be linked to obesity in teens. Far too many years of inaction have passed; the time to make sodium reduction a national priority is now. We are eager to get to work with Secretary Burwell on this important public health issue.
As she assumes responsibility for healthcare reform, we hope Secretary Burwell will continue the legacy left by former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius when it comes to preventing disease. This work is all too important for the millions of Americans who are currently at risk for cardiovascular disease.
While she is inheriting an agency in the midst of carrying out the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion, we believe Secretary Burwell’s fresh perspective will sustain the recent momentum as the marketplaces enter their second year. For the approximately 83 million Americans who are living with heart disease and stroke, the health reform law has already made a huge difference in their lives.
We wish Secretary Burwell the best of luck in her new role and we hope to explore future collaborations with the HHS to improve the heart health of all Americans."