Subway restaurants announced Monday a 28 percent reduction of sodium in their Fresh Fit sandwich choices. This effort further demonstrates how Subway has been a long-time proponent of healthier food choices and committed to leading the industry in offering better-for-you selections.

In addition to the sodium reductions on the Subway Fresh Fit menu, the brand has removed 15 percent of sodium across the board in its core sandwiches to provide customers more nutritious options and help lower sodium intake on a national scale. The reduced sodium offerings will eliminate 450 tons of sodium, each year compared to sodium levels three years ago.

According to the Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on high blood pressure and cholesterol, one in three adults has high blood pressure and an adult dies of cardiovascular disease, stroke, or heart attack every 39 seconds. As a contributor to high blood pressure, reduced sodium intake can help reduce risk of health problems including stroke, kidney damage and heart attack.

With the creation of the Subway Fresh Fitmenu in 2007, the brand has made choosing a nutritious meal easier for adults and children. These meal choices provide low fat and low saturated fat alternatives with personalized sandwich combinations, fresh vegetables, nutritious sides of apples, yogurt, or Baked! Lay’s Potato Crisps, and a selection of low-fat milk, diet soda, bottled water or other beverage.

“Through the years, consumers have looked to Subway for fresh and healthier food options,” said Tony Pace, Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Chief Marketing Officer. “In a continual effort to exceed their expectations, we felt it was important to take this leadership role in terms of sodium reduction. This is another manifestation of Subway’s mission to provide consumers with an abundance of made-to-order, flavorful and nutritious choices that they’ll enjoy eating.”

The announced reductions show Subway’s commitment to support the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI). The brand has already met the 2012 sodium benchmarks and will meet the 2014 benchmarks set forth. Subway is working on future sodium reductions as well as identifying opportunities to further enhance its nutritious offerings.

“Sodium plays an important role in proper nutrition; but since most adults consume well over the recommended limit of salt each day, people of all ages and health levels can benefit reducing their sodium,” said Lanette Kovachi, M.S., R.D, corporate dietician for Subway. “Reducing the sodium intake can play an important role in reducing risk factors that can lead to heart disease.”

“Increasing physical activity and eating healthy are the best ways to prevent heart disease and stroke,” said Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., American Heart Association president. “We recognize and appreciate Subway’s actions in reducing sodium levels – an important part of our new dietary goals – that help advance the American Heart Association’s 2020 goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans and reduce deaths from cardiac diseases and stroke.”

Subway has a long history of supporting organizations and initiatives that educate on the importance of heart health. In addition to the restaurant’s decade-long relationship with the American Heart Association, Subway supports The Heart Truth campaign and announced a new sponsorship with the American College of Cardiology in April in support of its CardioSmart National Care Initiative to promote awareness and heart healthiness.

“Having healthier food options available for people when they are eating away from home helps them to choose healthier lifestyles,” said David Holmes, M.D., President of the American College of Cardiology. “When our partner organizations bring their sponsorship to life, like what Subway has done in reducing sodium levels, it allows us to engage more people and improve heart health at a national level.”

The Subway menu allows consumers to personalize their meals to meet the nutritional needs and taste they desire. Each sandwich made to standard formula provides two full servings of fresh vegetables, 20 percent daily value of vitamin D, 30 percent daily value of calcium, essential nutrients vitamin A and iron, are free of artificial trans fat, are rich in complex carbohydrates and, excluding the Veggie Delite, are a good source of protein. When made on 9-Grain Wheat or Honey Oat bread, each sandwich contains at least 20 percent daily value of fiber. For consumers watching their calorie and fat intake, Subway features at least 40 meals with less than 600 calories and 8 sandwiches under 6 grams of fat.