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A comparison of food portion size estimation by older adults, young adults and nutritionists

Timon, C. M., Cooper, S. E., Barker, M. E., Astell, A. ORCID:, Adlam, T., Hwang, F. ORCID: and Williams, E. A. (2018) A comparison of food portion size estimation by older adults, young adults and nutritionists. The journal of nutrition, health & aging, 22 (2). pp. 230-236. ISSN 1279-7707

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s12603-017-0937-9


Objectives To investigate the ability of older adults, younger adults and nutritionists to assess portion size using traditional methods versus a computer-based method. This was to inform the development of a novel dietary assessment method for older adults “The NANA system”. Design Older and younger adults assessed the portion size of self-served portions of foods from a buffet style set up using traditional and computerised portion size assessment aids. Nutritionists assessed the portion size of foods from digital photographs using computerised portion size aids. These estimates were compared to known weights of foods using univariate analyses of covariance (ANCOVA). Setting The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Subjects Forty older adults (aged 65 years and over), 41 younger adults (aged between 18 and 40 years) and 25 nutritionists. Results There was little difference in the abilities of older and younger adults to assess portion size using both assessment aids with the exception of small pieces morphology. Even though the methods were not directly comparable among the test groups, there was less variability in portion size estimates made by the nutritionists. Conclusion Older adults and younger adults are similar in their ability to assess food portion size and demonstrate wide variability of estimation compared to the ability of nutritionists to estimate portion size from photographs. The results suggest that the use of photographs of meals consumed for portion size assessment by a nutritionist may improve the accuracy of dietary assessment. Improved portion size assessment aids are required for all age groups.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Department of Bio-Engineering
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:70803


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