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Weight Loss

<< 2015 Projects

A Novel Method to Restrict Portion Sizes

Need: A method to easily adjust adults' eating habits by slowly transitioning the patients from eating excessive portions to an appropriate size in order to maintain a healthy BMI range within the 5th percentile and the 85th percentile.



The obesity epidemic, which affects 36% of adults in the United States, can be partially attributed to overeating. Americans eat 25% larger portion sizes than the French and report 23% more cases of obesity. Diets traditionally allot patients dramatically small portions without any time to adjust, causing patients to relapse, while bariatric surgery is an invasive procedure that physically prevents patients from eating even normal amounts of food. Since moderation is important in building healthy habits, we needed to design a method that will steadily transition patients to eating appropriate portion sizes. We designed a shrinking container, inspired by the adjustment mechanism of a zip tie, which compels users to decrease portion sizes over time. We designed our components in SolidWorks and 3D printed several prototypes. This waterproof food container pairs with an application which informs users about healthier lifestyle choices to increase compliance. Our device led to a net volume change of 1.9 cups for the inner container; the container shrank from a maximum volume of 3.3 cups to a minimum volume of 1.4 cups, with 5 intermediate volumes in between. This shrinking container will create a productive method of addressing overeating-induced obesity by promoting consumption of healthier portion sizes. Future work may include designing the supplementary application, improving the accuracy of portion sizes, and individualizing our system.

(Left to right) Steven Dai, Isabel Mangaoang, and Jena Srikanth worked on a mechanism for controlled reduction in portion sizes for adults with weight loss goals. They designed a shrinkable container to aid patients in a gradual change in lifestyle and eating habits.

Click here to see the group's poster.