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A study of the use of a photographic food atlas to estimate served and self-served portion sizes

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Background: Although it is generally accepted that a weighed intake is the most valid way of assessing nutrient intake, this is not always the most appropriate method. Photographs have been suggested as a useful aid in assessing portion size when other methods of recording dietary intake are used.Method: Male and female subjects (n=100) were recruited to assess portion sizes of served amounts of mashed potato or cornflakes using food photographs. A second group of subjects (n=40) were recruited to assess portion sizes of self-served mashed potato or cornflakes using the same photographs.Results: Estimates varied from −70.6% underestimation to +198.7% overestimation for mashed potato, with less variation for the cornflakes where portions were served.Ã,® Where the food was self-served, results ranged from −38% and −64% underestimation to +61% and +88% overestimation for cornflakes and mashed potato, respectively.Correlation coefficients between estimated and actual weights of food showed them to be of statistical significance (P<0.05).Conclusion: Food photographs are a useful and convenient aid in the estimation of food portion sizes.

Keywords: dietary surveys; food photographs; food portion size

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: School of Education and Community Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, I. M. Marsh Campus, Barkhill Road, Liverpool L17 6BD, UK

Publication date: 1997-01-01

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