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Reduce Obesity By Offering Choices

Posted Feb 13 2013 12:18pm

badfoodchoices From Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article recently by The Morning Call, written by Cass R. Sunstein – the article is called Reduce Obesity By Offering Consumer Choices. The article begins by stating almost 70% of Americans have been overweight or obese in recent years, and more than 78 million people in the country have been counted as obese. Wow, these numbers are high. The article suggests that portion sizes must be reduced, as it appears many just eat whatever is put in front of them. This includes children, who are not mini adults, and should have portions appropriate to their size. According to the CDC, the average U.S. restaurant meal is more than five times larger than it was in the 1950s. Again, wow – why the change. Something needs to be done, and fast to reverse this epidemic. How many times have you had a bowl of chips in front of you, but you just keep eating and eating, then 30 minutes later, dinner and dessert. So, one helpful hint is to try smaller portions, and when done, stop eating for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, if still hungry, eat a little more, but not a lot. Please visit The Morning Call web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. I found it very informative and educational.”

From the article…..

Almost 70 percent of Americans have been overweight or obese in recent years, and more than 78 million people in the country have been counted as obese.

The problem has many sources, but one of them is obvious: increased portion sizes. We have a lot of evidence that people will eat whatever is put in front of them, even if they aren’t hungry. As portion sizes expand, waistlines expand as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average U.S. restaurant meal is more than five times larger than it was in the 1950s. The average hamburger, once less than 4 ounces, is now more than 12 ounces. The average order of French fries, once less than 3 ounces, is now more than 6 ounces. There is a clear correlation between increases in portion sizes and increases in obesity.

That correlation helps explain why obesity has been more prevalent in the U.S. than in France. The French eat high-calorie food, but their portion sizes are smaller. In supermarkets and restaurants, and in portion sizes recommended in cookbooks, Americans are given significantly bigger servings. Even at McDonald’s, where we might expect identical sizes, servings of soda and French fries have been found to be larger in Philadelphia than in Paris.

Brian Wansink, a Cornell University professor of consumer behavior, helps to explain why portion sizes have such a large effect. He finds that much of our eating is mindless or automatic in that we tend to eat whatever is in front of us. If you are given a half-pound bag of M&Ms, chances are that you will eat about half as much as you will if you are given a one-pound bag. People who receive large bowls of ice cream eat a lot more than those who get small bowls.

In one of Wansink’s fiendish experiments, people were provided with a large bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and told to eat as much as they liked. Unbeknownst to them, the soup bowls were engineered to refill themselves (with empty bottoms connected to machinery beneath the table). No matter how much soup the subjects ate, the bowl never emptied. The result? Soup consumption skyrocketed. Many people just kept eating until the experiment was ended.

To read the complete article….. Click here

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