Addictive Junk Food Becoming A Health Epidemic, Officials Warn

Addictive junk food is leading a growing number of Americans into obesity and creating the next great health crisis, health officials are warning.

The true power of addictive junk food is starting to come to light as more and more studies focus on the detrimental effects of sugary, salty, and fatty foods. The health crisis created by junk food is also the subject of a new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Set to be published later this month, the book looks at how officials within the food manufacturing world came to grips with the effects of junk food.

Officials warn that the growing obesity problem will lead to a generation of Americans beset with ailments like heart disease and diabetes, creating both a health and financial burden on the nation.

The New York Times reported on the new book, noting some staggering statistics:

“More than half of American adults were now considered overweight, with nearly one-quarter of the adult population — 40 million people — clinically defined as obese. Among children, the rates had more than doubled since 1980, and the number of kids considered obese had shot past 12 million. (This was still only 1999; the nation’s obesity rates would climb much higher.) Food manufacturers were now being blamed for the problem from all sides — academia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. The secretary of agriculture, over whom the industry had long held sway, had recently called obesity a “national epidemic.”

A study from late 2012 confirmed the health problems created by addictive junk food. In the study, rats given a diet of junk food were found to be anxious and depressed when switched back to a regular diet, Live Science reported.

The problem of addictive junk food has also become a matter of public debate, with some cities taking the step of limiting access to calorie-rich foods, especially near or within schools.

What do you think about the problem of addictive junk food? Is this something the government should be regulating, or is it up to each person to decide for themselves?