How junk food shapes the developing teenage brain

The teenage brain has a voracious drive for reward, diminished behavioural control and a susceptibility to be shaped by experience. This often manifests as a reduced ability to resist high-calorie junk foods. (Shutterstock) Amy Reichelt, Western University Obesity is increasing worldwide, especially among children and teenagers. More than 150 million children in the world are obese in 2019. These children have increased risk of heart disease, cancers and Type 2 diabetes. Teenagers with obesity are likely to remain obese as adults. If these trends continue, 70 per cent of adults aged 40 years could be either overweight or obese by 2040. I am a neuroscientist and my research investigates how diet changes the brain. I want to understand how unhealthy diets impact the developing brain, and also why young people today are so prone to developing obesity. Adolescents are the greatest consumers of calorie-rich “junk” foods. During puberty, many children have an insatiable appetite…
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Home for the holidays? LGB youth report lower parental support than heterosexual youth

LGTBQ Asian Community marches with QUEER ASIAN YOUTH banner at the 2017 Toronto Pride Parade. Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock Hilary Rose, CFLE, Concordia University During the holidays, most people — including young people — spend more time at home and with their families. But home and family can feel different based on varying levels of support from one’s family. Our research found LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) youth’s perceptions of family support remained the same or, in fact, worsened from 1998 to 2013. Our study’s trend analyses show that, generally, youth’s perceived parental support and family relations have improved steadily since 1998. As hopeful as that might be, the LGB youth in our study — average age 14¾ years — don’t see their parents and families as being as supportive as their heterosexual peers do, or indeed as they used to. It’s a striking difference when you consider that attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people have generally improved over time. Missing Support and …
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A year of resistance: How youth protests shaped the discussion on climate change

Millions of youth have participated in climate strikes, negotiations, press conferences and events, demanding urgent climate action this year. (Shutterstock) Joe Curnow, University of Manitoba and Anjali Helferty, University of Toronto Greta Thunberg made history again this month when she was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The 16-year-old has become the face of youth climate action, going from a lone child sitting outside the Swedish parliament building in mid-2018 to a symbol for climate strikers — young and old — around the world. Thunberg was far from the first young person to speak up in an effort to hold the powerful accountable for their inaction on climate change, yet the recognition of her efforts come at a time when world leaders will have to decide whether — or with how much effort — they will tackle climate change. Their actions or inactions will determine how much more vocal youth will become in 2020. Thunberg coined the hashtag #FridaysforFuture in A…
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Friday essay: From Bowie to Bieber – the under-appreciated art of the music video

The music video for Justin Bieber’s Sorry is one of the contenders at Sunday’s MTV Music Video Awards. Justin Bieber Vevo/Youtube Catherine Strong, RMIT University and Dr Phoebe Macrossan, UNSW The spectacular release of Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade earlier this year, and the critical response to it, has fleetingly put the music video in the spotlight. For a ubiquitous and influential art form, music videos tend to be easily dismissed and under-analysed, which means it took something as extreme as Beyoncé’s approach – an entire album complete with extraordinary visuals and social commentary – to draw attention to them. This Sunday, the MTV music video awards will be held at Madison Square Garden. Beyoncé has received 11 nominations and there is even a new award category called Breakthrough Long Form Video, suggesting her influence continues to ripple through the industry. Adele has received eight nominations. Two videos featuring the late David Bowie, Lazarus and Blacksta…
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