Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center is committed to improving the heart health of the community. Cardiothoracic surgeon Surender Neravetla, MD, who leads the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery program, exemplifies this commitment and is working to make the restaurant industry more health conscious.

Last fall, Dr. Neravetla presented Springfield City Commissioners with a petition to require restaurants to display the salt content of dishes on their menus. This petition was signed by more than 75 Mercy Health - Springfield physicians. Now Dr. Neravetla is appealing to the Restaurant Association of Ohio with a similar request. 

Salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Hypertension is a major contributing factor to heart disease, which is currently the leading cause of death in the United States. Although heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths, the American Heart Association estimates that 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. 

The World Health Organization reports that half of strokes and heart attacks are caused by hypertension. Today, the most common cause of hypertension is table salt consumption. 

In response to this, Dr. Neravetla has proposed a set of rules that restaurants can follow to help customers know the sodium levels their food, make informed decisions on what is the best option for them and their health and avoid unnecessary salt.

Dr. Neravetla’s proposed rules call on restaurants to:

  1. Provide salt content information on the menu
  2. Participate proactively in the prevention and management of heart disease
  3. Create and provide more healthy meal options
  4. Provide salt shakers only upon request
  5. Prepare sauces and gravies without salt