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Research Updates | Consumption

The portion size effect and over consumption – toward downsizing solutions for children and adolescents

14 / 05 / 18

Finding: The authors contend children and adolescents are still learning social norms and appropriate portions and thereby have potential to downsize portions to address the prevalence of obesity.

This review study provides a good summary of portion size on consumption and is available free to view.

Summary: Portion sizes of foods have increased over time and this can increase energy intake in an effect known as the Portion Size Effect (PSE). The PSE can contribute to over eating, overweight and obesity, especially when the food is high in energy density (HED). Explanations of the PSE vary from the simple (clearing the plate) to complex (individual differences in susceptibility to external food cues). People may eat what is presented or available, or opportunistically when large portions are available. Research on down-sizing HED meals and snacks does not yet demonstrate whether it is feasible or acceptable, and results are mixed in both adults and children. The authors contend that children and adolescents may be a worthwhile target group for downsizing strategies.

Citation: Hetherington MM, Blundell-Birtil P. The portion size effect and overconsumption – toward downsizing solutions for children and adolescents. Nutrition Bulletin 2018; 43, 61-68 (free to view)