The bottom line

June 2010


Overweight and obesity

Use of portion control in management

Volume 39, No.6, June 2010 Pages 407-411

Amanda Clark

Janet Franklin

Iain Pratt

Melanie McGrice


Overweight and obesity was responsible for 7.5% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia in 2003, and was estimated in 2008 to cost the community $58.2 billion. More than half of the adult, and up to a third of the child, population in Australia is now classified as overweight or obese.


This article aims to provide a rationale and some common practical solutions to help GPs assist patients to reduce intake and ultimately achieve weight loss or weight maintenance. In particular, it focuses on the reduction of portion size as a weight loss method.


Treating obesity remains a complex mix of changing someone’s habits and their cognition around food and exercise while considering their current medical profile and medications, and minimising risk of further disease. Despite this complexity, controlling portion size is an effective, simple, reliable and sustainable tool that can be used to bring about weight loss.

More than half of adults and up to a third of children in Australia are considered overweight or obese.1,2 In 2008 the Australian Government included obesity as a national health priority area in its own right; however, obesity has causative links to each of the other seven national health priority areas.3–5 In 2003, overweight and obesity were responsible for 7.5% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia, and were estimated in 2008 to cost the community $58.2 billion annually in direct and indirect costs.6,7

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