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Don't Blame America's Obesity Crisis on Soda and Fast Food: Study

A lack of healthy foods and physical activity is closer to the root of the problem.

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Greasy fast food, syrupy soda, and sugary candy have always been fairly obvious scapegoats for the declining health of Americans. But, it tuns out that blame might be misplaced. A new study by Cornell University researchers suggests healthy individuals consume so-called unhealthy foods as often as those who are morbidly obese or chronically underweight, and the idea that simply cutting out bad foods will lead to improved health may be misguided.

"By targeting just these vilified foods, we are creating policies that are not just highly ineffective, but may be self-defeating as it distracts from the real underlying causes of obesity," researcher David Just said. Just explains the findings in this video.

Instead of cutting out assorted junk foods, Just and fellow researcher Brian Wansink say examining overall diet, calorie intake, and exercise habits should take precedence. Exclusively removing enjoyable foods from one's diet may be counterproductive, resulting in frustration and having little impact on overall weight.

The Cornell study is released less than a year after a previous Tufts University study, which found fast food hasn't become anymore unhealthy than it was 20 years ago. It would appear that American food isn't changing, American diets and physical activities have evolved.

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