How Mothers Cook in Chile: an Experimental Exercise to Use Food Labels to Control Portion Sizes

Dario Gregori1, *, Simonetta Ballali2, Maria Gabriella Vecchio2, Luis Marcel Valenzuela Contreras3, Jorge Baeza Correa3, Cecilia Bahamonde Perez4, Jorge Barrera Luengo5, Edgardo Moyano5, Maurizio Arrieta6, Angelo Gutierrez6
1 Unit of Biostatistics, Public Health and Epidemiology, Dept. Cardiology, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padova, Italy
2 Prochild Onlus, Trieste, Italy
3 Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, Santiago de Chile, Chile, Italy
4 Facultad de Ciencias Médicas., Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Chile, Italy
5 Colegio Santo Domingo Savio, Santiago de Chile, Chile, Italy
6 Colegio Camilo Ortuzar Montt, Santiago de Chile, Chile, Italy

© 2013 Gregoriet al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Unit of Biostatistics, Public Health and Epidemiology, Dept. Cardiology, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padova University of Padova, Via Loredan, 18, 35121 Padova – Italy; Tel: +39 049 8275384; Fax: +39 02 700445089; E-mail:


Portion size of food and drink products is an important factor when providing nutrition information for food labeling purposes. The present study was conducted in order to understand more about consumer attitudes and understanding of portion size information on food and drink products. An experimental trial was performed on mothers and one of their relative. The participants were asked to prepare two meals (one meant for a child, one for an adult), with ingredients measured only with kitchen tools. Participants were stratified by portion size information in two groups, one with labels bearing the “100 gram” and one with “per portion”. Subsequently, every participant was interviewed on the basis of a questionnaire assessing nutritional and portioning knowledge. When measured the total Kcal of prepared meals after the simulation, an increase of calories was recorded in the group of subjects who prepared foods bearing the100g label, although not statistically significant(p =0.842). Portion size use seemed to be a more intuitive way to properly share nutritional information on food label, especially when considering common traditional recipes. Meals responsible appeared to be much more at ease with per portion labeling, when preparing both children's meals and adult ones.

Keywords: Chile, food label, meal preparation, nutritional information, per 100g, per portion.