The popularity of super-size portions in the UK is contributing to the rise in obesity levels, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

The charity claims that ‘two-for-one’ deals and ‘meal deals’ encourage people to eat more than they need, reports BBC News Online.

WCRF says the American trend of serving large portions as standard is becoming increasingly common in the UK. Over the last 20 years portion sizes have increased dramatically, with hamburgers now 112% larger than in 1982, pasta servings 480% larger and chocolate chip cookies 700% larger.

“Between 1980 and the present, portion sizes ballooned, and so did people. These two trends occurred simultaneously. Common sense tells you there must be a connection,” Dr Jeffrey Prince of the WCRF was quoted by the BBC as saying.

However, the Food and Drink Federation, which represents the UK food and drink manufacturing industry, said the WCRF had missed its target.

“UK food and drink manufacturers provide many of our favourite products in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit consumers’ varied nutritional needs and tastes. This widens people’s choices for building a healthy, balanced diet,” said Martin Paterson, FDF deputy director general.