Changes in Typical Portion Sizes of Commonly Consumed Discretionary Foods among Australian Adults from 1995 to 2011-2012

Nutrients. 2017 Jun 6;9(6):577. doi: 10.3390/nu9060577.


This study aimed to examine the changes in typical portion sizes of commonly consumed discretionary foods among Australian adults from 1995 to 2011-2012. Data of adults (age ≥19 years) from the 1995 Australian National Nutrition Survey and 2011-2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey were used. Typical portion sizes (median portion) of fourteen discretionary foods that contributed the most to energy intake were determined. Ten out of fourteen food categories demonstrated a significant change in kJ per typical portion from 1995 to 2011-2012 (p ≤ 0.001). kJ per typical portion increased for pizza, cake, sausage, cereal bar, processed meat, ice cream and wine, with pizza and cake demonstrating the largest increases (+570 kJ and +950 kJ in 2011-2012, respectively; both +66% above 1995). In contrast, kJ per typical portion of pastry, snack food and potato fries decreased by 10-40% over time, and did not change for biscuit, chocolate, sugar-sweetened beverage and beer. Similar changes were observed for grams per typical portion consumed. Temporal trends in typical portion sizes were similar according to age group, gender and socioeconomic status. The findings suggest that population-wide strategies that enable consumers to choose smaller portions of discretionary foods are needed to reduce the excess consumption of these products.

Keywords: Australian adults; energy-dense nutrient-poor foods; portion size; trends.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Beverages
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritive Value
  • Portion Size / trends*
  • Snacks
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult