Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Position paper on the need for portion-size education and a standardised unit of measurement

Tamara Bucher A B F , Megan E. Rollo A , Shamus P. Smith C , Moira Dean D , Hannah Brown A , Mingui Sun E and Clare Collins A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

B Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zürich, Universitätstrasse 22, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland.

C School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

D Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT9 5AG, UK.

E Departments of Neurosurgery, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.

F Corresponding author. Email: tbucher@ethz.ch

Health Promotion Journal of Australia - https://doi.org/10.1071/HE15137
Submitted: 26 November 2015  Accepted: 31 August 2016   Published online: 13 October 2016

Abstract

Large portion sizes contribute to weight gain in western societies. Portion-size interventions, aids and education can be effective in helping prevent weight gain, but consumers are unsure what appropriate portions are and express confusion about existing guidelines. A lack of clarity about suggested serving size recommendations is a major barrier to food portion-size control. Therefore, standardised measurement units and unambiguous terminologies are required. This position paper summarises the evidence regarding the impact and importance of portion-size education and estimation, and outlines strategies for improving consumer understanding and application of this through the development of an international food measurement system and a range of appropriate portion control tools. In this position paper, the authors call for the standardisation of food volume measurement terminologies, units, implementation recommendations, as well as consumer education. The target audience for this paper includes nutrition and behavioural researchers, policy makers, and stakeholders who potentially influence and implement changes in national food measurement systems, which in turn impact on consumer choice.

Key words: food unit, serve size, standard serving size.


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