Small Plate Movement

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The Small Plate Movement is a combined effort by academia, government, media, and industry to help American families lose weight and feel healthier by simply reducing the size of their dinnerware. The Movement was announced in San Diego on October 27, 2008 at the American Public Health Association conference.


Serving snack food on smaller plates can reduce how much children take.

Recent studies in medical, nutrition, and marketing journals have illustrated how people serve themselves in proportion to the size plate that they have been given. That is, while 3 ounces of pasta on a 10-inch plate looks like a sizable portion, the same amount on a 12-inch plate looks comparatively much smaller, as can be seen in this. [Missing image?]

As a result, a person tends to overserve on to larger plates. Because people consume an average of 92% of what they serve themselves, larger plates lead to larger food intake.[1] A two inch difference in plate diameter—from 12 to 10 inch plates—would result in servings 22% lower in calories, on average, yet it is not drastic enough to trigger a counteracting response. If a typical dinner has 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to a weight loss of around 18 lbs. per year for the average adult.

Families and restaurants[edit]

The Small Plate Movement consists of two initiatives; one aimed at families, and one at restaurants. The Family Initiative aims at encouraging consumers to reduce the size of their dinner plates from the average 12-inch plate most people have in their cupboards to a more reasonable size of 10-inches. A two inch drop results in 22% fewer calories being served, yet it is not drastic enough to trigger a counteracting response. While the basic Consumer Initiative is an ongoing education campaign, one focus of the campaign is the Small Plate Challenge, which asks consumers to commit to using smaller (10") dinner plates for the largest meal of their day for one month.

The second Initiative is aimed at encouraging restaurants to reduce the size of their plates. For buffet restaurants, smaller plates would reduce both food costs and waste. For fixed-plate restaurants, smaller plates would increase perceptions of value. In either case, research shows it would lead consumers to eat less food.


  1. ^ Wansink, Brian; Cheney, Matthew M. (13 April 2005). "Super Bowls: Serving Bowl Size and Food Consumption". The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (Chicago, USA: The American Medical Association) 293 (14): 1727–8. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1727. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 15827310. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 

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