By Karen Kaplan
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When it comes to gaining weight, the Christmas-to-New-Year’s season is the biggest doozy in Western nations. According to a new study, Germans put on an average of 1.75 pounds and Americans gain an average of 1.3 pounds. (And that’s just the average)
Los Angeles Times
Halloween is right around the corner, which means Thanksgiving and Christmas will be coming up soon. If you’re already worried about putting on extra pounds over the holidays, a new study has some discouraging news: Your fears are justified.
Americans who participated in the study saw their weight increase by 0.2 percent during the Thanksgiving holiday and 0.4 percent over Christmas, researchers report in Thursday’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Though Americans are known to have trouble maintaining a healthy weight, 38 percent of us are obese and another 33 percent are merely overweight, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this pattern of holiday weight gain is hardly unique to the United States.
In Germany, study participants boosted their body weight by 0.6 percent around Christmas and another 0.2 percent around Easter. And in Japan, celebrants got 0.5 percent heavier over Christmas and 0.3 percent heavier during Golden Week, a period that encompasses four national holidays.
“Different countries celebrate different holidays, but many such celebration periods have one thing in common: an increased intake of favorite foods,” study authors wrote.
The researchers analyzed daily fluctuations in the weight of 2,924 people with Withings wireless scales, which automatically transmit weight measurements to a smartphone app. That prevented study participants from fudging their numbers on days when the scale delivered unwelcome news.
The research team, Elina Helander of Tampere University of Technology in Finland, Brian Wansink of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and Angela Chieh of Withings, a consumer electronics company in Paris, examined data collected from the scales between August 2012 and July 2013. The weight readings were converted into daily weight changes, which were used to compute an average for each country.