Gain: How Bad Are We Really?
A study suggested that many Americans appear
to only gain about one pound of body weight
during the holidays, but tend to not lose
that pound. Weight gain over time can
increase one's risk for heart disease,
diabetes and some cancers.
During the holidays, magazines and newspapers are rich with
hints and tips to avoid the holiday weight gain. Many articles
claim that the average American will gain more than five pounds
between Thanksgiving and the New Year!
According to our last PHPOLL, PHWEEK readers feel the same way.
“I would imagine that one can gain five to seven over the
holidays,” wrote Sylvia Boykin, Vendor Management Relations
Manager for the Georgia WIC program.
That’s enough to make you reconsider dessert after your holiday
dinner. But, how bad are we really during the holidays?
Scientific studies fail to prove that Americans pack on
significant pounds during the holidays. In fact, one study
published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that
many Americans appear to only gain about one pound of body
weight during the holidays, on average.
These surprising findings do not offer us a free pass to gorge
on fruitcake. There is bad news: The study showed that people
did not lose that pound after the holiday season, and that pound
can add up year after year making it an important factor in
adult obesity. There is more bad news for those who are already
overweight. Overweight people tend to gain closer to five
pounds, or more, over the holidays.
Another study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism,
found that while subjects did not gain any weight, researchers
did observe a significant increase in body fat percentage and
fat mass. This may be attributed to less activity and exercise
as cold weather sets in and decadent foods abound. A decrease in
fat-burning muscle mass or a gain of one pound a year can be
detrimental to a person’s health by increasing his or her risk
for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians
to be aware of the threat of holiday weight gain. Stick to your
regular workout routine, or get a jump on your New Year’s
resolution with a commitment to eating healthy and being active
starting now. DPH wants Georgians of all ages to make better
health a priority by following the guidelines of the Live
Healthy Georgia campaign: Be Active, Eat Healthy, Be Smoke Free,
Get Checked and Be Positive. Visit the Live Healthy Georgia
website for information on how you can make healthy choices this
holiday season, and for a lifetime.
-Story by Kimberly Stringer, DPH Communications
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