The UK is the country most "addicted" to fast food, according to a study published today (2 January).

A survey of 9,000 people from 13 countries found the US closely followed the UK in its love for fast food, according to market research firm Synovate.

The study found people acted in a conflicting manner when it came to managing their weight.

"People are inherently contradictory and nowhere is it more obvious than on such a sensitive and important issue as their weight," said Synovate global head of media Steve Garton.

"The results show there's a world of people who cannot deny themselves that hamburger or extra piece of pizza, but probably make themselves feel better by washing it down with a diet cola."

Those interviewed were "torn" between "food as fuel versus food as pleasure", Garton said. "On one hand, more than half of all respondents agreed that they eat whatever they want, whenever they want. On the other hand, more than two thirds say 'I watch my food intake carefully and strive to be healthy' which rather flies in the face of the first claim," Garton said.

Some 40% of those surveyed said food is the "main culprit" for obesity. A fifth blamed "unhealthy food choices", while 13% blamed the individual.