Junk Food Addiction Across Generations in Urban Karnataka, India
Background: Junk food consumption is progressing from being just an unhealthy life style habit to a full-fledged addiction.
Objectives: To assess the health problems related to junk food habits; To assess the burden of addiction to junk food using a novel junk food addiction scale and to describe the alternate diets followed.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted among people across three generations: Generation X, Millenials and Generation Z residing in urban Karnataka, India. Using convenient sampling, a sample size of 500 subjects were selected. Addiction to junk food was assessed by a novel Junk Food Addiction Scale developed for the study.
Result: All 500 study subjects had consumed either junk/street/fast/instant food any time in the past 1 year. A total of 211 (42.2%) subjects reported acute health problem and 182 (36.4%) chronic health problems following junk food consumption. The burden of junk food addiction was found to be 80 (16%) [CI (95%): 13.32-18.68] of which majority 70 (14%) had mild addiction. The prevalence of different fad diets followed for 3 months or more was 137 (27.4%).
Conclusion: Junk food addiction was observed in more than one tenth of the subjects. Majority had mild addiction and observed equally between Millennials and Generation Z. Obesity, habits and gadgets had independent effects on junk food addiction. More than one forth subjects followed fad diets.
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