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The Supersizing of America: Portion Size and the Obesity Epidemic

Rolls, Barbara J. PhD

Nutrition and Behavior

Although we are just beginning to understand how environmental factors such as portion size affect eating behavior, the available data suggest that large portions of energy-dense foods are contributing to the obesity epidemic. Several possible strategies for adjusting portions to bring intake back in line with energy requirements are discussed. The continuing rise in the rates of obesity calls for urgent action.

Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, holds the Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. Her studies examine influences on human ingestive behavior and body weight regulation. She is particularly interested in how properties of foods influence hunger and satiety. The practical implications of this work for weight management have been published in The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan, HarperTorch, 2003.

This work was supported by NIH grants DK39177 and DK59853.

Corresponding author: Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, Department of Nutritional Sciences, 226 Henderson Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802-6501 (e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.