A sizable number of older Americans are addicted to junk food, according to a new survey from the University of Michigan.

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The University of Michigan pointed to the obvious reason for concern over addiction to junk food.

“Nutrient-poor diets dominated by these foods are a major contributor to chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, all of which are leading causes of preventable death around the world,” the university said.

Ashley Gearhardt, a psychologist with the university, noted that food addiction is no less real than other forms of addiction.

“The word addiction may seem strong when it comes to food, but research has shown that our brains respond as strongly to highly processed foods, especially those highest in sugar, simple starches, and fat, as they do to tobacco, alcohol and other addictive substances,” said Gearhardt in a statement.

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