Whether you call them comfort foods, highly processed foods, junk foods, empty calories or just some of Americans’ favorite foods and drinks, a sizable percentage of older Americans have an unhealthy relationship with them, according to a new University of Michigan poll.
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The poll is based at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center.
The poll team and U-M psychologist Ashley Gearhardt used a set of 13 questions to measure whether, and how often, older adults experienced the core indicators of addiction in their relationship with highly processed foods such as sweets, salty snacks, sugary drinks and fast food. These addiction indicators include intense cravings, an inability to cut down on intake and signs of withdrawal.