Obesity vs. Portion Size
Karen Ramirez de Arellano, Nutrition Program student
According to the researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity is the epidemic of our time. Several factors contribute to the rise in obesity: genetic factors, dietary intake, and exercise activity. However, a lot of the focus is on inappropriate food intake – in other words “portion sizes” – perhaps because it is something we can control. The effect of over-consuming calories and more than doubled portion sizes is directly related to the rise in obesity. In a study published by Healthy People 2010, there are 72 million obese adults in the United States. In 2010, more than 60 % of the nation was overweight, and this study estimated that if the current trend continues, then 50 % of the population would be obese by 2023.
Obesity is also on the top ten causes of death in the US based on Healthy People 2010 and 2020. This is due to obesity being linked to diseases like cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, sleep apnea and other respiratory problems, and osteoarthritis (CDC). On the other hand, for someone who struggles with weight, it can be very difficult to know how much to eat, since restaurants tend to over-serve us.
Below are tips to follow when eating out or dining in. It is easy to determine your position size using six easy portion measurement tricks.
The first one is that your fist or cupped hand equals approximately 1 cup. (A serving size of cereal, cooked pasta or rice, or raw vegetables or fruits is approximately 1/2 cup.)
The second “rule of thumb” is that a dollop the size of your thumb is approximately equal to 1 teaspoon of high fat foods like peanut butter.
Another good “thumb rule” is that a thumb-sized chunk is about 1 oz. cheese.
The fourth approximation: 1 “tennis ball” of fruit = 1 serving.
The fifth is that a chunk about the size of the palm of your hand is around 3 oz. of meat.
The sixth helpful hint is that a handful (1 to 2 oz.) of a good, wholesome snack food (nuts or dried fruits) makes a good portion.
Adapted fromNorth CarolinaSNAC
Just by following these steps, you can drastically change your diet and affect your weight. Avoid over-sizing at fast food restaurants and “all you can eat” places. Developing healthy eating habits includes knowing the correct portions of foods we should eat. This can make the difference between someone who diets and someone who makes healthy changes.