Typically, mass marketed manufactured food that has a high carbohydrate (sugar) and fat content but few essential nutrients. Marketed in attractive packages emphasizing style over substance, convenience over cost, flavor over nutritional content and food value, these appeal to people in a hurry who snack rather than dine. They are disproportionately costly but are consumed in huge quantities at entertainment venues such as sports arenas and cinemas, by preteen and teenage children at and after school, and by people watching television, where many junk foods are advertised. Examples include candy, hot dogs, potato chips, pretzels, donuts, and carbonated sweetened beverages. Because of high carbohydrate and trans fat content and the fact that many who consume junk foods get insufficient exercise, frequent consumption of such foods contributes to juvenile obesity and obesity in adults, and thus is a public health problem. See also fast food.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.