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Larger portion sizes are feeding Australia’s obesity problem

A recent study by The George Institute for Global Health has revealed that Australia’s growing portion sizes are fuelling the nations obesity epidemic.

The research shows that Australia’s most popular and regularly consumed junk foods, from cake to pizza, have increased in portion size equating to a 66% increase in the number of kilojoules consumed in one sitting.

Researchers used data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey and the 2011-2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey to track the changes in portion sizes and with surprising results.

An average slice of cake today contains a 1000 more kilojoules than it did only a decade ago. Typical servings of mouth-watering ice cream, succulent sausages and that glass of wine have also increased significantly.

The problem is that today, these little unhealthy “treats” now contribute to a third of a person’s daily average energy intake.

serving VS what you should be served

Lead researcher Doctor Miaobing Zheng is worried about these trends, saying “Over the past two decades we found that foods which provide very little nutritional benefit have surged in size, and this is helping to fuel Australia’s obesity epidemic. We’d expected portion sizes to have grown but we were still surprised by just how much”.

It is interesting to note that whilst there was an increase in certain foods other treats such as pastries and chips has actually decreased. Whilst the cause of this is unclear, it is quite possible that for many of us we consider these to be “unhealthy” and so consciously try and consume less of them.

plate and portion size

Co-author Beth Meertens from The Heart Foundation is urging us all to think about the role portion sizes actually play in our overall health as, “Healthy eating is both the type of food and the amount of food that we choose every day”.

We all deserve a sneaky treat every now and then but it’s time we start thinking about just how much ice cream we ate in that one sitting, and maybe call a friend to eat half with you.

About the author

Bethan, though born and raised in Sydney, is also a British Citizen, and lived in London for 13 months. She is currently studying Journalism and International Studies at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. In her spare time you’ll find her playing with her dogs and cats, or looking at animal memes.

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