Portion size effects on daily energy intake in low-income Hispanic and African American children and their mothers

Jennifer O. Fisher, Angeles Arreola, Leann L. Birch, Barbara J. Rolls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Background: Portion size influences children's energy intakes at meals, but effects on daily intake are unknown. Objective: Effects of large portions on daily energy intake were tested in 5-y-old Hispanic and African American children from low-income families. Maternal food intake data were collected to evaluate familial susceptibility to portion size. Design: A within-subjects experimental design with reference and large portion sizes was used in a study of 59 low-income Hispanic and African American preschool-aged children and their mothers. The portion size of 3 entrées (lunch, dinner, and breakfast) and an afternoon snack served during a 24-h period were of a reference size in one condition and doubled in the other condition. Portion sizes of other foods and beverages did not vary across conditions. Weighed food intake, anthropometric measures, and self-reported data were obtained. Results: Doubling the portion size of several entrées and a snack served during a 24-h period increased energy intake from those foods by 23% (180 kcal) among children (P < 0.0001) and by 21% (270 kcal) among mothers (P < 0.0001). Child and maternal energy intakes from other foods for which portion size was not altered did not differ across conditions. Consequently, total energy intakes in the large-portion condition were 12% (P < 0.001) and 6% (P < 0.01) higher in children and mothers, respectively, than in the reference condition. Child and maternal intakes of the portion-manipulated foods were not correlated. Conclusions: Large portions may contribute to obesigenic dietary environments by promoting excess daily intakes among Hispanic and African American children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1709-1716
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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