A novel study conducted to analyze the fluctuations in eating and exercise habits of individuals has revealed that it may vary over different seasons with a tendency to eat more during winter. It is further supported by the fact that there is a corresponding seasonal change in the body weight and physical activity. Researchers at University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester have conducted the study.
Numerous studies have been conducted on seasonal variation and nutrient intake previously and have yielded only limited information. Nearly 593 men and women were recruited for the present 1-year study. The average age of the study participants was 48 years and a majority of them were overweight and obese. The food intake, level of physical activity and body weight were among the factors taken up for study. Seasonal variations in all the above areas were documented.
The study participants were found to consume nearly 1,963 kilocalories per day, with half of the calories derived from carbohydrates alone. Approximately a 1/3rd was obtained from fat intake. On analysis highest levels of calorie intake was documented during winter and the lowest during spring.
A seasonal fluctuation in the food source intake was also seen with carbohydrate intake maximal during spring while the intake of total fat and saturated fat was the highest during the fall.
Consistent with reports of lowest levels of physical activity during winter, a corresponding increase in the body weight was also noted. The physical activity levels were found to be maximal during spring season. In addition, this seasonal variation was more prominent among middle age men, nonwhites and among those with a high school education or less.
The study results only emphasize the need for balancing the number of calories consumed and burned through balanced diet and physical activity. The findings could also have valuable implications on the innate difficulty of most people to lose weight.
Following results of the present study, the researchers have expressed the need to maintain a perfect balance to compensate for the anticipated weight gain during winter. Appropriate changes have to be made in the level of physical activity to stabilize food intake and energy levels.