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The rate of obesity is increasing worldwide and the increase has been particularly dramatic in young people. Young people are the greatest consumers of high-energy, sugary and fat-laden “junk” foods and sweetened drinks.
The heightened metabolism and rapid growth during puberty can protect against obesity. However, easy access to cheap junk foods and increasingly sedentary lifestyles outweighs the protection from growth spurts.
It is known excessive consumption of junk foods damage areas of the brain essential for learning and memory processes. Neurons in brain regions, including the hippocampus, that encodes memories, no longer work efficiently, leading to poorer learning.
This is of great concern as adolescence is a critical formative period for learning about the world. Adolescence is also a time of newly found independence, including food choices./.../