Body Weight Associated with Portion Sizes in Young Adults

Armen Hareyan's picture

Food Portion Size and Weight

College students with higher body mass indexes tend to consider larger food portion sizes as typical and therefore eat significantly larger amounts of high-calorie foods, according to researchers at Colorado State and San Diego State universities.


In a survey of 51 students, the researchers found "when allowed to select their own portion sizes, participant BMI is a very strong predictor of larger than recommended amounts of food... This finding agrees with previous research that suggests increased portions lead to increased intake."

In general, the study's participants chose "substantially larger" portion sizes of ten out of 15 foods and drinks, which included potato chips, rice, tortilla chips, pudding, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, water and soda. The students' BMI alone "positively predicted" the selection of larger portion sizes of six foods.

"In addition, participants chose significantly larger portion sizes for high-carbohydrate foods when compared to high-fat foods," the researchers write. "Women estimated lower portions of the (high-calorie), high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods when compared to men... Because the diet food industry has traditionally targeted women, it is possible that women are better than men at regulating portion sizes of foods that
are more likely to increase body weight."