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Junk Food May Be Harmful To Health, But It’s Not The Main Cause Of Obesity

November 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Junk food in and of itself may be nutritionally bankrupt, even harmful to health, but it is not the leading cause of obesity, Cornell University scientists say in a new study. It’s more complicated than that. For example,overall diet and amount of physical activity are also key factors. The study reviewed a representative sample of about 5,000 adults in the United States. It found that consumption of soda, candy and fast food is not linked to body mass index (BMI) for 95 percent of the population. Those on the extreme ends of the BMI spectrum – the chronically underweight or morbidly obese – are the exceptions because they are more likely to eat junk food and less likely to eat fruits and vegetables. The simple point is that narrowly targeting junk food is ineffective and self-defeating because “it distracts from the real underlying causes of obesity."
David Just, Brian Wansink, "Fast Food, Soft Drink, and Candy Intake is Unrelated to Body Mass Index for 95% of American Adults", Obesity Science & Practice, November 20, 2015, © Just & Wansink
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