Skip to main content

Weight and body composition change over a six-week holiday period

Abstract

Change in weight and body composition was assessed over a six-week holiday period. Baseline testing occurred the Monday or Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving Day (November 24 or 25, 2008), and the post-holiday assessment was the Monday or Tuesday after New Year’s Day (January 5 or 6, 2009). Thirteen men and 21 women ranging in age from 23–61 years completed the study. The majority of participants (24 of 34) perceived that they had gained weight, and four did gain =2 kg. However, despite some changes to dietary and exercise habits, on average there was no difference between pre-holiday weight (74.0±17.8 kg) and post-holiday weight (73.9±18.1 kg), nor between pre-holiday body fat percentage (25.4±9.0%) and post-holiday body fat percentage (25.4±8.9%). Despite a perception of substantial weight gain, body weight and body fat remained unchanged over a six-week holiday period.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    D’Arrigo T. The right choices: how to keep those holiday pounds at bay. Diabetes Forecast 2007; 60: 32–3.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Siri WE. Body composition from fluid spaces and density: Analysis of methods. In: Brozek J, Henschel A (Eds) Techniques for Measuring Body Composition. Washington, DC, National Academy of Sciences, 1961, pp 223–44.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Hull HR, Radley D, Dinger MK, et al. The effect of the Thanksgiving holiday on weight gain. Nutr J 2006; 5: 29.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Klesges RC, Klem ML, Bene CR. Effects of dietary restraint, obesity, and gender on holiday eating behavior and weight gain. J Abnorm Psychol 1989; 98: 499–503.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Hull HR, Hester CN, Fields DA. The effect of the holiday season on body weight and composition in college students. Nutr Metab 2006; 3: 44–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Andersson I, Rossner S. The Christmas factor in obesity therapy. Int J Obes 1992; 16: 1013–5.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Phelan S, Wing RR, Raynor HA, et al. Holiday weight management by successful weight losers and normal weight individuals. J Consult Clin Psychol 2008; 76: 442–8.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Reid R, Hackett AF. Changes in nutritional status in adults over Christmas 1998. J Hum Nutr Diet 1999; 12: 513–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, et al. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med 2000; 342: 861–7.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Nádas J, Putz Z, Kolev G, et al. Intraobserver and interobserver variability of measuring waist circumference. Med Sci Monit 2008; 14: CR15–8.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2008 (DHHS Publication No. 2010–1570). Washington, DC, USDHHS, 2009.

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Ma Y, Olendzki BC, Li W, et al. Seasonal variation in food intake, physical activity, and body weight in a predominantly overweight population. Eur J Clin Nutr 2006; 60: 519–28.

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Van Staveren WA, Deurenberg P, Burema J, et al. Seasonal variation in food intake, pattern of physical activity, and change in body weight in a group of young adult Dutch women consuming self-selected diets. Int J Obes 1986; 10: 133–45.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Brown C. The information trail of the ‘freshman 15’ — a systematic review of a health myth within the research and popular literature. Health Info Libr J 2008; 25: 1–12.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to D. R. Wagner PhD.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wagner, D.R., Larson, J.N. & Wengreen, H. Weight and body composition change over a six-week holiday period. Eat Weight Disord 17, e54–e56 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03325328

Download citation

Key words

  • Body fat
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Year