Super Bowls: Serving Bowl Size and Food Consumption | Lifestyle Behaviors | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
April 13, 2005

Super Bowls: Serving Bowl Size and Food Consumption

Author Affiliations
  •, Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • 2Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, Champaign
JAMA. 2005;293(14):1727-1728. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1727

To the Editor: Obesity has been linked in part to the expanding portion sizes of prepackaged or preserved foods.1-3 However, adults frequently serve themselves the food they will eat for a meal or snack. We investigated how the size of serving bowls influences how much food a person decides to serve and consume in a natural environment.

Graduate students were recruited to attend a Super Bowl party at 5:30 PM. On arrival, 40 individuals orally consented to participate in an institutional review board–approved study in which they “may be asked questions about food and commercials in party environments, such as at a Super Bowl party.” No reference was made to the hypotheses being examined. Each participant was led in an alternating order to 1 of 2 identical buffet tables on opposite sides of an adjoining room and asked, “Would you care for some snacks before the game?” – had identical amounts of high energy density snacks (assorted roasted nuts and a pretzel/chip variety mix, both approximately 5.26 kcal/g). On one table these snacks were offered in 2 large (4-L capacity) serving bowls. On the second table, an equal quantity of the same 2 snacks was offered in 4 medium (2-L capacity) serving bowls that were otherwise identical to the larger bowls.