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New cooking training significantly decreases sodium levels in Chinese take-out meals

May 30, 2018

While Chinese dishes are known to have one of the highest salt contents of all food categories, new research finds that a cooking training for Chinese take-out chefs and restaurant owners can result in substantial reductions in sodium in the foods they serve with no substantial loss of taste. This study was published today in Public Health Reports.

A research team from Temple University’s Center for Asian Health investigated the effectiveness of a sodium-reduction training intervention, “Healthy Chinese Take-Out Initiative,” which trained chefs from 206 Chinese take-out restaurants in the low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Initiative included:

  • professionally led, culturally tailored training on healthy, low-sodium cooking
  • low-sodium cooking materials such as recipes and measurement spoons
  • a citywide mass-media campaign on sodium reduction
  • annual one-on-one booster trainings and compliance checks

The researchers monitored the sodium in three popular dishes – shrimp and broccoli, chicken lo mein, and General Tso’s chicken – in 40 restaurants and found significant reductions in the sodium content of all three dishes 36 months after the initial training intervention.

“These findings demonstrate the feasibility and potential benefits to population health of a coordinated partnership among public health agencies, academic institutions, and community businesses and organizations to reduce sodium in restaurants,” wrote the study authors.

The authors added that more research should be done on the subject examining the effects of the intervention in other types of restaurants, such as delis, buffets, or pizza shops.

To learn more, read the full article “Evaluation of a Healthy Chinese Take-Out Sodium-Reduction Initiative in Philadelphia Low-Income Communities and Neighborhoods” by Ma et al., in Public Health Reports.

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Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 1,000 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. Our growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington, D.C. and Melbourne. www.sagepublishing.com

Public Health Reports is the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service and has been published since 1878. It is published bimonthly, plus supplement issues, through an official agreement with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. The journal is peer-reviewed and publishes original research and commentaries in the areas of public health practice and methodology, public health law, and public health schools and teaching. Issues include regular commentaries by the U.S. Surgeon General and executives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

The journal focuses upon such topics as tobacco control, teenage violence, occupational disease and injury, immunization, drug policy, lead screening, health disparities, and many other key and emerging public health issues. In addition to the six regular issues, PHR produces supplemental issues approximately 2-5 times per year which focus on specific topics that are of particular interest to the journal’s readership. The journal's contributors are on the front lines of public health and they present their work on the pages of PHR in a readable and accessible format. https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/public-health-reports/journal202574

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