Next Article in Journal
Blind Analysis of Food-Related IgG Identifies Five Possible Nutritional Clusters for the Italian Population: Future Implications for Pregnancy and Lactation
Previous Article in Journal
Prevalence and Consequences of Preoperative Weight Loss in Gynecologic Surgery
Previous Article in Special Issue
Identifying Barriers to Reducing Portion Size: A Qualitative Focus Group Study of British Men and Women
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Exploring the Experiences of People with Obesity Using Portion Control Tools—A Qualitative Study

MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK
Centre for Nutrition Research, University of Navarra, 31008 Pamplona, Spain
Navarra Institute for Health Research (IdiSNa), 31008 Pamplona, Spain
St Mary’s University, London TW1 4SX, UK
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Bangor LL57 2PW, UK
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6GG, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1095;
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Portion Size Effect and Strategies for Portion Control)
PDF [500 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]


Large portion sizes increase consumption and eating smaller portions is recommended as a weight control strategy. However, many people report difficulties enacting this advice. This study examined the experience of individuals using two commercially available portion-control tools to try to manage their weight. In a crossover design, 29 adults with obesity (18 women) who had attended a previous weight loss intervention in the community were invited to use two portion-control tool sets over a period of four weeks (two weeks each) and to complete a semi-structured questionnaire about their experience. The tools were a guided crockery set (sector plate, calibrated bowl, and calibrated glass) and a set of calibrated serving spoons (one for starch, one for protein, and one for vegetables). Data were analyzed using thematic framework analysis. A key theme was related to the educational benefits of the tools, such as generating awareness, guidance, and gaining an independent ability to judge appropriate portions. Other key themes were tool usability, acceptability, and feasibility of usage. Barriers identified by participants included unclear markings/instructions and the inconvenience of using the tool when eating away from home. Overall, the tools were perceived to be educationally useful, easy to use, and potentially effective for learning to control portions, which suggested that these instruments could help in weight management interventions alongside other strategies. Elements of the tool design could influence the ability of participants to adhere to using the tool, and hence allow the educational effect to be mediated. View Full-Text
Keywords: portion size; education; awareness; portion-control tool; calibrated tableware portion size; education; awareness; portion-control tool; calibrated tableware

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Almiron-Roig, E.; Majumdar, A.; Vaughan, D.; Jebb, S.A. Exploring the Experiences of People with Obesity Using Portion Control Tools—A Qualitative Study. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1095.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Nutrients EISSN 2072-6643 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top