Larger Portion Sizes Contribute to U.S. Obesity Problem
(NU) - Food portions in America's restaurants have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years, a key factor that is contributing to a potentially devastating increase in obesity among children and adults. We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activities and Nutrition), a program from the National Institutes of Health, offers parents tips to help their families maintain a healthy weight.
"Super-sized portions at restaurants have distorted what Americans consider a normal portion size, and that affects how much we eat at home as well," said Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "One way to keep calories in check is to keep food portions no larger than the size of your fist." Larger portions mean more calories, which can easily add up to extra weight.
Consider, for example, if you had today's portions of the following meals:
In one day, you would consume 1,595 more calories than if you had the same foods at typical portions served 20 years ago. Over the course of one year, if consumed daily, the larger portions could amount to more than 500,000 extra calories.
Controlling portion sizes and eating smarter can help you and your family avoid extra calories. Here are some tips from the NIH:
We Can! is designed to assist parents in helping children between the ages of 8 and 13 maintain a healthy weight through improving food choices, increasing physical activity and reducing television and recreational computer time.
For a free parents' handbook and other resources, visit http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov or call 866-35-WECAN.
We Can! and the We Can! logo are trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
We Can! Families Finding the Balance: A Parent Handbook provides background information on the obesity epidemic and practical tools to help you and your family adopt a healthier lifestyle.
We Can! offers a variety of resources and materials, including a community toolkit, parent handbook, posters, print ads, and wristbands.