Today, the NYC Health Department, very proactive in fighting obesity and other public health issues, launches a new ad campaign– Cut Your Portions. Cut Your Risk.–spotlighting the role of increasing portion sizes and it consequences for obesity and other health problems. The campaign is urging New Yorkers to be more aware of portion sizes when deciding what to eat or drink.
To hit home, this campaign will feature New York City subway posters encouraging New Yorkers to cut their portions to reduce their risk of health problems. The posters will be in English and in Spanish. Here is a sample.
This portion-size campaign is dear to my heart as I have researched the trend toward growing portion sizes over the past 50 years. And the campaign is based, in part, on my work on growing portion sizes and it’s contribution to the obesity epidemic. Serving sizes of most foods available for immediate consumption, including French fries, soft drinks, hamburgers, and baked goods have more than doubled in size—and therefore in the amount of calories they contain–in the past few decades. In many cases, a single meal is so big that it can contain many more calories than most of us need for an entire day. One of the problems with big portions is that we eat more when we are served more!
Here are several academic articles, co-authored with my mentor and NYU colleague Dr. Marion Nestle, summarizing my research:
- Young LR, Nestle M. Portion sizes and obesity: responses of fast food companies. Journal of Public Health Policy 2007;28:238-248.
- Young LR, Nestle M. Expanding portion sizes in the US marketplace: Implications for nutrition counseling. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103:231-234.
- Young LR, Nestle M. The Contribution of Expanding Portion Sizes to the US Obesity Epidemic. Am J Public Health 2002;92(2):246-249.
I also write about the trend toward growing portion sizes and offer solutions in my book The Portion Teller Plan.
Hopefully, this new campaign, along with NYC DOH’s ongoing requirement that chain restaurants post calorie counts on menu boards, and some of it’s other terrific ad campaigns, will continue to provide New Yorkers with the information they need to make healthier choices and to eat LESS.