Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jumbo-Size Servings Spark Fears of Obesity Timebomb; IT STARTED IN THE STATES, NOW 'PORTION-DISTORTION' HITS BRITAIN

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jumbo-Size Servings Spark Fears of Obesity Timebomb; IT STARTED IN THE STATES, NOW 'PORTION-DISTORTION' HITS BRITAIN

Article excerpt

Byline: ISABEL OAKESHOTT

AMERICAN-SIZED helpings of food are creating an obesity timebomb in Britain, doctors warn today.

Experts say jumbo hamburgers, cookies and muffins are becoming as common in the UK as the United States - where "portion distortion" has seen typical servings of food increase in size by up to seven times in two decades.

They fear giant helpings of calorieladen meals are exposing diners to numerous health risks, and today they accuse the food industry of luring consumers into buying outsized portions by offering "bargain" prices on multiple purchases and extra-large servings.

The warning follows mounting fears in America over portion sizes in shops, restaurants and homes.

Latest research shows that in the United States - taking into account size and weight - typical servings of fast foods, steaks, cakes and biscuits are up to seven times as large today as they were 21 years ago.

And it found that people will eat more than they need to when faced with larger servings.

The increase in portion sizes corresponds to soaring levels of obesity, with 30.5 per cent of the population classified as obese, compared with 14 per cent in 1984.

At a conference at the Royal College of Physicians today, experts are calling for an end to portion distortion - warning that similar trends are now apparent in Britain. Dr Jeffrey Prince, of London-based World Cancer Research Fund International, said: "Giant portion sizes have become the norm.

The latest statistics indicate that Americans are "super-sizing" meals in their homes as well. The price they pay for these larger portions are obesity and chronic disease. A similar price will be paid by Britons if action is not taken sooner."

Doctors blame growing meal sizes on the "value marketing" principle, whereby supermarkets, restaurants and cinemas encourage people to buy "big eat" crisps, "king-size" chocolate bars, triple-pack sandwiches and "meal deals" containing crisps, sandwiches and sweetened drinks. …

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