Check the Heart-Check Mark for Heart-Healthy Foods

Check the Heart-Check Mark for Heart-Healthy Foods

The check mark. We use it to reference things done, take attendance and show something is correct. In short, the check mark means validation, a resounding “Yes!” So what does a check mark mean for your heart?

The American Heart Association (AHA) created the Heart-Check Food Certification Program to help you identify heart-healthy foods at a glance. Achieving this designation means a particular food meets AHA heart-healthy guidelines as part of an overall healthy diet and can use the mark on its packaging.

But it's more than just a symbol on a box. The Heart-Check mark is your first indication of what's inside and an invitation to make a heart-healthy choice. And it's not a certification that's easily acquired.

For starters, the AHA is serious about heart health because it's a vital component to our quality of life and longevity. The organization's mission is to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. To support this, it has a goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% by the year 20201 and believes healthy eating and regular physical activity are key to the mission's success.

The AHA Heart-Check program provides designations on products to make eating a heart-healthy diet easier. The program assures consumers that products meet consistent science-based nutritional standards. Each product has requirements for nutrition to limit, such as saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium, and nutrients to encourage, such as fiber.

Only then does a food become certified to display the AHA Heart-Check mark:

What does this mean to you when choosing a heart-healthy food? If you are considering buying a breakfast cereal, you can compare all of the ingredients and nutritional values and try to determine which one, if any, is better. Or you can simply find the Heart-Check certification mark on the box and rest assured that what goes into your bowl has been verified by a trusted source to meet nutritional guidelines.

So that little check mark contains a lot of important information.

1Roger VL, Go AS, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012: published online before print December 15, 2011, 10.1161/CIR.0b013e31823ac046.

American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HeartSmartShopping/Heart-Check-Mark-Food-Certification_UCM_300133_Article.jsp. Accessed February 8, 2013. Dallas, TX.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Modernization Act Claims. http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/LabelClaims/FDAModernizationActFDAMAClaims/ucm073621.htm. Accessed February 15, 2013. Silver Spring, MD

Please note that the Heart-Check Food Certification does not apply to recipes, food images, or information reached through links unless expressly stated. For more information, see the AHA nutrition guidelines at heartcheckmark.org/guidelines.

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Latest Comments Showing 1 - 1 of 1

I love your honey toasted Heart to Heart cereal (partly because it tastes good and even more so because it has limited sodium) but refuse to buy it because of the GMO content. When will you be offering it without GMOs? Cheerios can do it-so can you.....
Anita D
on January 18, 2014
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