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Do You Suffer From Portion Distortion?

Did you know obesity has become a national epidemic? The prevalence of obesity in the United States has been on the increase over the last decade.

Hot Springs, Ark. – Did you know obesity has become a national epidemic?  The prevalence of obesity in the United States has been on the increase over the last decade.  In fact, over one-third of adults and nearly 17% of our youth were considered obese in 2012.  Is there a difference between the prevalence of obesity in adult women versus adult men?  Not significantly.  But, middle-age adults are more likely to be obese than younger or older adults.  Here is a startling breakdown.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey:

  • 30.3% of adults between the ages of 20-39 are obese.
  • 39.5% of adults between the ages of 40-59 are obese.
  • 35.4% of adults ages 60 and over are obese.

The obesity rate for preschool-age children has declined over the last couple of years, but the rate for school-age children and adolescents has increased.

  • 8.4% of children between the ages of 2-5 are obese. 
  • 17.7% of children between the ages of 6-11 are obese. 
  • 20.5% of adolescents between the ages of 12-19 are obese. 

One contributor to obesity is the amount of food we eat.  Consuming and extra 100 calories per day for a year above what your body needs can cause you to gain an extra 10 pounds.  So how do you know how many calories your body needs?  There are many determining factors to take into consideration such as your age, height, current weight, target weight, and activity level.  There are programs available to help you determine your daily caloric intake.  One of these is SuperTracker, https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx.    Not only do these programs determine your daily caloric needs, they can break those calories down into the different food types – protein, fat and carbohydrates – as well as the different food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein.  Take an active approach to controlling your weight and improving your health by knowing what food portion sizes or servings are.  For example,

  • 1 teaspoon is equivalent to the tip of your thumb
  • 1 Tablespoon is equivalent to three thumb tips
  • 1 cup is equivalent to your fist
  • 3 ounces is equivalent to the palm of your hand.  Use this to determine portion sizes of meat.
  • ½ cup of fruit or vegetables will rest in your cupped hand
  • 1 cup of cereal or cooked pasta will rest in two cupped hands

In addition to knowing portion and serving sizes, here are a few more tips to help prevent over-eating:

  • Use a smaller bowl or plate.  By doing so, your plate will look fuller and the smaller portion sizes will actually look bigger.
  • Look at what you’re eating.  Put your food on a plate or in a bowl rather than eating out of the box or bag, such as when you are eating snack foods such as chips, popcorn, and crackers.  This will help give you a visual cue of exactly how much you are eating.
  • Stop eating when you are full.  If you feel obligated to clean your plate, put less food on your plate to begin with.
  • Limit your distractions.  Focus on the food you are eating rather than the TV, computer, telephone, or book.

For more information on portion control, contact the Garland County Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703, email Jessica at jvincent@uaex.edu, visit our website at www.uaex.edu.

EHC Information

Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email jvincent@uaex.edu.

Master Gardeners

If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge.  You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email abates@uaex.edu.

4-H Information

We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old.  For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at lbates@uaex.edu. 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

 

By Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841
jvincent@uaex.edu

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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