Starting in December, the city's chain restaurants will be mandated to place a salt shaker symbol on menu items containing more than 2,300 milligrams of salt, the AHA said in a blog posting.
The measure was unanimously passed by the city's board of health and comes as the U.S Food and Drug Administration is considering new guidelines for packaged food manufacturers that would control sodium content in their products.
High sodium intake can be a factor in high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease or stroke. The AHA recommends that adults should take in no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day, but studies have shown most Americans consume more than double that amount.
"In order to meet our goal to improve cardiovascular health and reduce death by cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020, we must tackle high blood pressure," AHA President Mark Creager, who is a cardiovascular disease specialist, said. "One fundamental way to do that is by reducing sodium intake. It will save lives.”
Commonly consumed foods that contain the highest levels of salt include bread, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches.
“Making consumers aware of the sodium in foods purchased at restaurants, in the example of New York, and setting targets for sodium in processed and packaged foods, is an ideal way of informing and helping them,” Creager said.