Choose Health portion control advertising – Los Angeles, USA

Key Insights

  • Portion control awareness
  • Advertising healthy consumption
  • Combatting obesity through awareness


The food environment of Los Angeles promotes large portion sizes in restaurant and retail settings, yet obesity rates are rising fast across the city. In 2012 the County of Los Angeles ran a three-month campaign across advertising hoardings, television, radio and online to show people what a normal portion of certain foods should look like and how many calories it contains. The initiative was followed up in 2016 with a second campaign aimed at increasing parents’ awareness of the need to choose healthier meals for their children out of the home.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

Los Angeles (USA), Shutterstock/Lunamarina

The action and its aims

A major awareness campaign as part of Los Angeles’ ‘Choose Health’ initiative showed how even slightly smaller portions have an impact on calorie control. The campaign covered out-of-home settings (billboards and the transport system), television, radio, and online, and presented information on recommended calories limits, graphics showing what a portion of certain foods looks like, and tips for controlling snack and meal sizes in the home and when out. The campaign aimed to increase public awareness of the importance of portion management.

When it was introduced

The initial portion control campaign ran for three months. A follow-up campaign in 2016 aimed to raise awareness among parents of the need to choose healthier meals for their children when eating out.

Why it was needed

The action was initiated in the context of fast-rising obesity rates in Los Angeles, and a food environment that promotes large portion sizes in restaurant and retail settings.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The campaign was run by the County of Los Angeles Public Health Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. Funding came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Impacts to date

No impact data were found in the public domain.

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