NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City health department proposed Wednesday to put high-sodium warning labels on many restaurant menus.

If the proposal is passed, it would be a first in the country requiring chain restaurants to label menu items that include 2,300 milligrams of sodium or more in an effort to help diners make healthier choices, CBS2’s Meg Baker reports.

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Doctors and health officials say 2,300 milligrams, which is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of salt, is too much.

Deputy Health Commissioner Sonia Angel says there are “very high sodium” options currently being offered in more than 50 local chain restaurants.

Sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest found some of the worst sodium offenders. For example, a prime rib contains 3,560 mg of sodium, nearly double the recommended daily intake.

Want a cheeseburger? It contains 4,570 mg of sodium, which is about two teaspoons of salt.

A chicken and pasta dish is a day’s worth of salt at 2,370 mg.

“So many times, the one meal will supersede that daily limit of how much sodium or salt we should have in our diet,” said Dr. Daniel Yadegar. “Studies have shown that most people, nine out of 10, exceed that, and the average intake is over 3,000 milligrams on a daily basis.”

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“This is really, in my view, part of an effort to empower consumers,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said Wednesday, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

Bassett said a similar strategy was adopted in Finland in the 1970s. “And they saw a reduction in cardiovascular mortality,” she said.

New Yorkers, however, are split on the idea.

“I think it’s pointless,” one man told Baker. “I don’t see why. You know what has a lot of salt and what doesn’t.”

“I get what I want, eat what I want,” another man told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

“I think it’s good to be informed of salt content and other content as well,” said another.

“Actually, I think it is a good idea because I have high blood pressure and I need to look for that hidden salt that is in food,” said one man.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the “sodium warning label is part of this administration’s comprehensive strategy to lower the city’s premature mortality rate by 25 percent by 2040.”

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A final vote on the proposal could come in September with implementation beginning in December. A public hearing is scheduled for July 29.