What is the Philadelphia Healthy Chinese Take-out Initiative?

Americans consume twice the recommended daily amount of sodium. Excessive sodium intake greatly increases the risk of developing hypertension, a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Surprisingly, most of the sodium in the American diet comes from processed and restaurant foods. Chinese restaurant dishes can contain large amounts of sodium, and, in some cases, have more than the recommended daily amount of sodium- 2,300 mg (as seen in the table below), mainly due to the sauces used in preparation and cooking. In Philadelphia, there are approximately 400 Chinese take-out restaurants clustered in low-income communities.

Items Sodium amount in portion* Items Sodium amount in portion*
Egg Rolls 416 mg (1 piece) Fried Rice 554 mg (1 order)
Lemon Chicken 1549 mg (1 order) General Tso’s Chicken 2325 mg (1 order)
Shrimp and Broccoli 2475 mg (1 order) Chicken Lo Mein 2565 mg (1 order)
Beef and vegetables 2349 mg (1 order) Kung Pao Chicken 2425 mg (1 order)

*Source: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?fg=Restaurant+Foods&man=none&lfacet=&count=&max=25&sort=ndb&qlookup=restaurant%2C+chinese&offset=&format=Stats&new=

The Philadelphia Healthy Chinese Take-out Initiative, “Less Salt, Healthier Eating,” is a joint effort among Temple University’s Center for Asian Health, the Asian Community Health Coalition, the Philadelphia Chinese Restaurant Association, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Partners will work with 200 Chinese take-out restaurants in the greater Philadelphia area to:

  1. Decrease the amount of salt in Chinese take-out restaurant dishes by 10-15% in an effort to control and prevent high blood pressure;
  2. Promote compliance with and understanding of the Philadelphia Youth Sales Law.

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