The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5028.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #54357

Increasing food portions in America: Trends

Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, 35 W. 4th Street, 10th floor, New York, NY 10012-1172, 212-860-4776,

Obesity is a major public health problem in the U.S. and its prevalence is increasing in adults and children. The portion sizes of commonly consumed foods appear to have increased in size during the past 20 years. One reason for the increase in obesity may be that people are eating larger food portions and, therefore, more calories. This research presents the sizes of current food portions that are major contributors of calories in U.S. diets and sold for immediate consumption; documents changes in these sizes during the past thirty years; and compares current food portions to standard serving sizes developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for dietary guidance and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food labels. Portion sizes were obtained from manufacturers or measured directly. Changes in portion sizes were obtained from manufacturers or contemporary publications. Marketplace portions have increased over time. Portion sizes began to grow in the 1970s, rose sharply in the 1980s, and have continued to increase, paralleling the increasing prevalence of overweight in the U.S. Many food portions are now two to five times larger than their original size. Current portion sizes also exceed standard serving sizes by at least a factor of two and sometimes by eight-fold. Portion size affects caloric balance. To prevent obesity rates from escalating further and to help overweight individuals lose weight, more attention should be paid to portion sizes. This presentation will propose policy recommendations and educational strategies to address this trend toward increasing food portions.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Obesity, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Portion Size: Linking Obesity, Consumer Attitudes and Policy Opportunities

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA