495 Presentation influences selection and consumption of food

December 05, 2016

written by Brian R McAvoy

Clinical question
How effective are interventions involving exposure to different sizes or sets of physical dimensions of a portion, package, individual unit or item of tableware on unregulated selection or consumption of food, alcohol or tobacco products in adults and children?

Bottom line
People consistently consumed more food and drink when offered larger-sized portions, packages or tableware than when offered smaller-sized versions. This suggests policies and practices that successfully reduce the size, availability and appeal of larger-sized portions, packages, individual units and tableware can contribute to meaningful reductions in the quantities of food (including non-alcoholic beverages) people select and consume in the immediate and short term (typically over a period of 1 day or less).

It is uncertain whether reducing portions at the smaller end of the size range can be as effective in reducing food consumption as reductions at the larger end of the range. It was not possible to highlight clear implications for tobacco or alcohol policy due to identified gaps in the current evidence base.

People are repeatedly exposed to varying sizes and shapes of food, alcohol and tobacco products in environments such as shops, restaurants, bars and homes. This has stimulated public health policy interest in product size and shape as potential targets for intervention.

Cochrane Systematic Review
Hollands GJ et al. Portion, package or tableware size for changing selection and consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco. Cochrane Reviews, 2015, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD011045.DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD011045.pub2. This review contains 72 studies, 58 of which were involved in a meta-analysis (6603 participants).

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.