Northern Ireland

One in three in NI 'struggle to control portion sizes'

Nearly two thirds of Northern Ireland adults are overweight or obese Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nearly two thirds of Northern Ireland adults are overweight or obese

One in three people in Northern Ireland has trouble controlling portion sizes putting them at risk of weight gain, a new report has suggested.

Researchers at the Ulster University established that, with nearly two thirds of Northern Ireland adults being overweight or obese, people recognise the importance of healthy eating.

However, there is not so much emphasis on healthy meal sizes.

They have developed visual guides to help people recognise correct servings.

The work carried out for safefood, found that consumers regard portion size as being relevant only to those dieting, more important to women and not an issue for men or younger adults.

Food products labelled "low fat" or "reduced fat" may also be contributing to weight gain, as consumers assume that these products are lower in calories than they really are.

Therefore they tend to consume them in larger portions, the research suggests.

Smaller plates and different sized spoons were also seen as helpful in managing portion sizes.

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, safefood, said: "Traditionally, we've been brought up to finish everything on our plate and we tend to equate bigger portions with generosity and value.

"But with 61% of adults in Northern Ireland overweight or obese, the issue of portion size is relevant to all of us and we need to cut down on the portions we're eating of most foods."

"Eating an extra 100 calories every day can lead to weight gain of 4.5kg in a year and this can easily happen," she said.

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