Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Reader: Food Quantity and Obesity

In chapter 3 from the textbook it discussed the effects of packaging size/portion size on consumption (p. 88-89). I am interested in what affect the sale of bulk items in the US plays into obesity. Growing up in a suburban and southern context (I don’t know if the latter effects this – but obesity is more prevalent there), I have for most of my life grown up around food being sold in large quantities, so these sizes are what I have grown to consider to be normative. For instance, a few weeks ago I went to Sam’s Club for the first time in years and it is impossible to buy many of their products in small quantities. Even outside of stores that sell products in bulk – I think the average size of products sold in American supermarkets is larger than that of many other countries around the world.
            This is not the standard everywhere in the world. I do not have any way, from my own experience, to compare this with a non-industrialized country. But, I studied abroad in South Korea last year. My host family would make more frequent visits to the super market than I or my family do in the US. My guess is that this stems from food being sold, on average, in smaller sizes as well as storage space of food being limited.
            I cannot really say if this in any way affected my food consumption or if it does anyone in these countries. But it seems quite apparent from the studies listed in the textbook that the sale of food sold in large portions can enable or encourage overeating.
            As well, in talking about the acquisition of food in the suburban American context, I think the potential negative health effects of large portion consumption are compounded by the common practice of driving directly to the supermarket, instead of more frequent trips using public transport, bicycles, or just walking.

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