Live Better

Celebrations around the world have one thing in common

A look at weight gain around the world over Christmas time and some tips on how you can go into the new year feeling good.  


Holidays may be celebrated very differently in the US, Japan, and Germany, but it appears they all cause similar effects–weight gain.

What the research found

In a letter published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers describe how they distributed wireless scales to nearly 3,000 people in US, Japan, and Germany.

Over 12 months, the people in the study weighed themselves each day. At the end of the study period, the researchers used the scale data to calculate how each participant’s weight changed over the course of the year, compared to their starting weights.

People’s average weights also increased around national holidays in their countries.

But the largest gains were over the Christmas-New Year holiday season. According to the study, people in all three countries gained weight over this period. Specifically, people’s weight went up in the 10 days after Christmas compared to the 10 days before Christmas, the researchers found.

The researchers found that participants in all three countries gained weight during the 10 days after Christmas, compared to 10 days before. They noted that although participants shed half of their weight gain shortly after the holidays, but the other half lingered for six months or more.

Australians also gain weight during the festive season

While the research didn’t include Australians, it seems we also get heavier over festive seasons.

According to Nutrition Australia, on average Australians gain 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period. And although this might not sound like a lot of weight, they also identified that weight gained over the holiday period is rarely lost.

Start the New Year feeling good

But weight gain over the festive season doesn’t have to be inevitable.

Accredited Practising Dietitian Sharon Curtain shares some simple strategies to keep you feeling good into the New Year. Read her party season survival guide here.

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