Typical food portion sizes consumed by Australian adults: Results from the 2011-12 Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey

13 November 2019

Considerable evidence has associated increasing portion sizes with elevated obesity prevalence. This study examines typical portion sizes of commonly consumed core and discretionary foods in Australian adults, and compares these data with the Australian Dietary Guidelines standard serves. Typical portion sizes are defined as the median amount of foods consumed per eating occasion. Sex-and age-specific median portion sizes of adults aged 19 years and over (n = 9341) were analysed using one day 24 hour recall data from the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. A total of 152 food categories were examined. There were significant sex and age differences in typical portion sizes among a large proportion of food categories studied. Typical portion sizes of breads and cereals, meat and chicken cuts, and starchy vegetables were 30-160% larger than the standard serves, whereas, the portion sizes of dairy products, some fruits, and non-starchy vegetables were 30-90% smaller. Typical portion sizes for discretionary foods such as cakes, ice-cream, sausages, hamburgers, pizza, and alcoholic drinks exceeded the standard serves by 40-400%. The findings of the present study are particularly relevant for establishing Australian-specific reference portions for dietary assessment tools, refinement of nutrition labelling and public health policies.