Portion sizes and obesity

Responses of fast-food companies

Lisa R. Young, Marion Nestle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Because the sizes of food portions, especially of fast food, have increased in parallel with rising rates of overweight, health authorities have called on fast-food chains to decrease the sizes of menu items. From 2002 to 2006, we examined responses of fast-food chains to such calls by determining the current sizes of sodas, French fries, and hamburgers at three leading chains and comparing them to sizes observed in 1998 and 2002. Although McDonald's recently phased out its largest offerings, current items are similar to 1998 sizes and greatly exceed those offered when the company opened in 1955. Burger King and Wendy's have increased portion sizes, even while health authorities are calling for portion size reductions. Fast-food portions in the United States are larger than in Europe. These observations suggest that voluntary efforts by fast-food companies to reduce portion sizes are unlikely to be effective, and that policy approaches are needed to reduce energy intake from fast food.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-248
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Health Policy
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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Portion Size
Fast Foods
Obesity
food
Food Chain
Health
Energy Intake
policy approach
health
Food
energy

Keywords

  • Calories
  • Fast food
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Portion sizes
  • Serving sizes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)

Cite this

Portion sizes and obesity : Responses of fast-food companies. / Young, Lisa R.; Nestle, Marion.

In: Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2007, p. 238-248.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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