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Holiday Weight Gain – It’s (Mostly) a Myth!

19 December 2012 in Trading Ideas

Pass the gingerbread after all – it may not be that big of a deal.

It turns out that long-held expectations that you will inevitably pack on the pounds during the holidays isn’t supported by the evidence, according to a recent article on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website.

In fact, the average adult gains only 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

A 2000 study in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the weight fluctuations of 195 adults over three six- to eight-week intervals during the year. The subjects didn’t change much in the pre-holiday or post-holiday periods, but they did put on that one pound during the holiday season.

Now the bad news: When researchers weighed the study’s subjects again the following fall, most had not lost that additional pound, suggesting that additional holiday weight can build up over time.

In addition, other studies have shown that people who are overweight to begin with gain as much as five pounds on average at this time of year.

Ironically, perhaps, this myth-busting dovetails with news this week that obesity rates in children have declined in several cities after decades of increases. The New York Times reported on Monday that childhood obesity fell 5% in Philadelphia and 5.5% in New York City, bringing forth some of the first indications that one of the country’s toughest health problems could be reversing course.

Many of the cities showing improved statistics have been strategically battling childhood obesity for years, despite the skepticism of many experts that anti-obesity programs are effective. In Philadelphia, for instance, the city began to eliminate sugary drinks from school vending machines in 2004, and a year later it set calorie and fat limits on snacks such as potato chips. By 2009, deep fryers were gone from cafeterias and whole milk had been replaced by 1% and skim.

The Fighting Fat motif is a collection of stocks of 17 companies that inhabit the broad obesity-battling landscape, including segments such as diabetes care, weight management, fitness centers and weight loss drugs. The motif is up 1.5% over the past month.

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