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Series Website: shiftingthebalance.nhpr.orgShifting the Balance is a station-wide series focused on the positive impact environmental and policy changes can have on the fight against obesity in schools, workplaces, and communities. While so much of the national conversation about obesity focuses on the effect of personal choice, NHPR’s reporters and producers are examining what happens when the choices themselves are changed. Shifting the Balance will present stories of how personal habits, including exercise and consumption, can be improved when even simple changes are made to an individual’s environment, including infrastructure, available food, and the support of leaders and innovators across the culture.

Eat Less, Give More

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Photo by wanpark2, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
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How many times have you ordered an entrée at a restaurant only to end up with a pile of food on your plate you then feel obligated to take home in a doggie bag? Overly large portions must have some appeal for restaurant goers…after all, some chains rely marketing campaigns that talk about little else…

With obesity rates, food waste and hunger all on the rise in the United States, a new program is hoping to put a dent in all three. The non-profit called “Halfsies” is the brainchild of Rachel Smith, a registered pediatric nurse who saw a big problem, and is doing her best to make a difference in the dining-out environment to change long-term perceptions about portion size and helping those in need. And as part of our continuing series, Tipping the Scales, we wanted to learn more.

Producer's note: Special thanks to Word of Mouth Producer Todd Bookman, who traveled to New Hampshire restaurant Bentley's Roast Beef to gauge customers' reactions to the ideas behind Halfsies.