TOPICS > Health

News Wrap: FDA May Require Food Companies to Cut Sodium

April 20, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
Loading the player...
In other news Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration may consider new regulations to cut sodium content in food products to help stem the growing health consequences. Also, a military group told Congress that school lunches are to blame for the obesity epidemic that is hurting eligibility for the armed services.

HARI SREENIVASAN: U.S. food companies went on notice today they may be forced to go easy on the salt. The Institute of Medicine recommended the Food and Drug Administration regulate sodium content in food.

It called for gradual reductions to cut average consumption by half-a-teaspoon a day. The institute is an independent agency chartered by Congress. It said Americans take in more than twice as much salt as needed, raising the risk of high blood pressure and strokes.

The nation’s young people are getting fatter, and it’s hurting the military. A group of retired officers reported today that 27 percent of young Americans are too overweight to qualify for service. They said school lunches are a major factor.

Retired Army Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender urged Congress to mandate changes.

BRIG. GEN. CLARA ADAMS-ENDER: U.S. Army: America is only as healthy as our nation’s children. Childhood obesity is now undermining our national security, and we need to start turning it around today. For security’s sake, we call on the Congress to pass a strong child nutrition bill this year.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The group also proposed taking junk food and high-calorie beverages out of schools. A bill to overhaul the school lunch program is currently awaiting a Senate vote.

A high-ranking regional leader of al-Qaida in Iraq has been killed. Ahmed al-Obeidi died in an early-morning raid by U.S. and Iraqi forces in the northern province of Nineveh. He is said to be in charge of al-Qaida operations there and in two other provinces. On Sunday night, Iraqi and U.S. troops killed the two overall leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq.

In Afghanistan, a shooting incident sparked a new dispute over civilian deaths. NATO troops killed four unarmed people in Khost Province last night. They ignored warnings to stop as they drove toward a convoy. NATO said two of the dead were — quote — “known insurgents.” Afghan police said all four were civilians.

Arizona has moved a step closer to a new crackdown on illegal immigrants. On Monday, the legislature approved a bill that makes it a crime not to have an alien registration document. Opponents said it would lead to racial profiling. Supporters said it would bring law and order. It was unclear if Republican Governor Jan Brewer would sign the bill. Arizona has approved a series of tough immigration laws in recent years.

Wall Street made more headway today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 25 points to close at 11117. The Nasdaq rose 20 points to close at 2500.

Those are some of the day’s main stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the “NewsHour”‘s Web site — but, for now, back to Margaret.