To Supersize or Not?

Posted on: January 26th, 2012 by sdavis

Oversized portions are making Americans fat, according to the CDC.  New York’s Department of Health is taking aim at the food industry through a new subway ad campaign initiated in January 2012.

People are being warned about the risk of super-sized portion, so they can make informed choices about what they eat, products and sizes that are right for them and their families. For example, the serving size of a beverage at a fast food chain has quadrupled from 7 oz to 32 oz and french fry portions have doubled to 5.4 oz since 1955. As a result, New Yorkers are eating 1,000 calories or ½ the amount they should be consuming in one day at one meal alone.

One of the posters depicts an overweight man who has type 2 diabetes and an amputated leg. “Cut your portions. Cut your risks,” states the ad.  Over the past five years, the New York health agency has developed a series of campaigns targeting sugary drinks, excessive calories and encouraging people to exercise.

Portion control is an important piece to the solution to obesity, but more work is needed, according to agency. Portion sizes have even increased in people’s homes where plates are larger than they were decades ago. About 57% of adults in New York are overweight and two out of every five elementary school children are overweight. Nearly 10% of all New Yorkers have been diagnosis with type 2 Diabetes and the Health Care facilities are already overwhelmed with the % of patients admitted with diabetes according to the agency.

The restaurant industry maintains that it is being unfairly accused of causing these health problems when they continuously offer healthful options to consumers with less calories, fat and sugar and in a variety of portion sizes available said Joy Dubost, director of healthy living and nutrition for the Restaurant Association. Many restaurateurs say that diners do not want smaller portions. Restaurants fear they would risk alienating their own customers if they reduce the portion sizes of their meals.

The CEO of Applebee’s in the New York metro area, Zane Tankel reports their customers are demanding larger portions. “At the end of the day, the consumer dictates what we do.”

Applebee’s offers low-calorie menu options based on recipes from Weight Watchers which was initiated 8 years ago. “Today the interest in these meal options has dropped off significantly,” he said.

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