Friday, January 20, 2012

American Heart Association Supports Trans Fat Legislation

The American Heart Association (AHA) today released the following statement in response to recent articles published concerning Colorado trans fat legislation. The statement may be attributed to Susanna Morris, AHA Government Relations Director for Colorado.

 “The American Heart Association is supporting efforts to eliminate trans fats in Colorado school food programs through SB-12-068. This bill requires the elimination of industrially produced trans fat such as vegetable shortening, margarine or any type of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil that contains more than zero grams of trans fat per serving. Schools would not be permitted to serve a food that contains any industrially produced trans fat in the preparation of a food item or beverage that is intended for consumption by a student in a public elementary, middle or high school. The intent of the bill is to protect children from the cardiovascular impacts of ingesting these industrially modified oils.

Contrary to published reports, the bill does not require schools to remove pizza, french fries or other fried foods from their menus. It simply requires schools to use healthier oils in food preparation that are a suitable and accessible alternative.  This bill does require the elimination of trans fats in any meal provided by the school, such as school breakfasts, al a carte items, vending machines and after-school snacks must also be trans fat free. While this component of the bill has led to recent articles labeling the legislation as stringent or limiting, the American Heart Association views it as a comprehensive piece of legislation that will protect Colorado children throughout the school day, not just during the lunch period.

The AHA has long recognized the consumption of trans fats as a health risk to Americans and has worked to encourage the removal of trans fats from the restaurant and food industry. In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated the Nutrition Facts label of all packaged foods must indicate the quantity of trans fats in a serving of the food product.  These efforts have catalyzed food manufacturers to reformulate many of their products to decrease levels of partially hydrogenated fats.  It has also resulted in an increased awareness about dietary trans fats among the general public, and has sparked actions by a number of cities and states to limit the use of trans fats in restaurant foods.  Removing the use of trans fats in school foods is the logical next step in a continued movement towards a healthier state and a healthier country.” 

 The American Heart Association covers many areas when it comes to heart disease and stroke. The current priority is for quality physical activity and strong nutrition policies and programs and further research to effectively treat and prevent obesity. You may learn more about our efforts to fight obesity online or go to and search “obesity prevention.” 

In addition to Morris, media may speak with the AHA’s Colorado-based national Director of State and Local Obesity Policy Initiatives, Carter Headrick.


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