Junk Food Not To Blame For Obesity In America


Contrary to popular belief, soda, candy and fast food are not the prime culprits of obesity in the United States, according to a recent study.

Although a diet of cheeseburgers and brownies washed down with a Coke is inadvisable from a nutritional standpoint, researchers from Cornell University found that the intake of junk food is not related to the body mass index (BMI) in 95 percent of U.S. adults , The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

"If we want real change we need to look at the overall diet, and physical activity. Narrowly targeting junk foods is not just ineffective, it may be self-defeating as it distracts from the real underlying causes of obesity," researcher David Just said in a statement.

For the study, Just and his colleague Brian Wansink reviewed a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States and found that consumption of soda, candy and fast food is not linked to BMI for 95 percent of the population, Medical Daily reported. The exception is those who are on the extreme ends of the BMI spectrum: those who are chronically underweight and those who are morbidly obese.  They also found no significant difference in consumption of these indulgent foods between overweight and healthy weight individuals.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the overwhelming majority of weight problems are not caused by consumption of soda, candy and fast food alone.

"This means that diets and health campaigns aimed at reducing and preventing obesity may be off track if they hinge on demonizing specific foods," Just said.

The results suggest that clinicians and practitioners seeking to help individuals obtain a healthy weight should examine how overall consumption patterns, such as snacking, and physical activity influence weight instead of just eliminating "junk foods" from patient's diets.

The findings are detailed in the journal Obesity Science & Practice.

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