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Watch Out! Weight Gain During Vacation May Add to Long Term Obesity Woes

Written by Amrita Surendranath, B.Sc, M.Sc.
Article Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on February 6, 2016 at 4:31 PM
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Watch Out! Weight Gain During Vacation May Add to Long Term Obesity Woes

Weight gain during vacations is a common occurrence but a recent study unearths some startling facts associated with vacation weight gain. Holidays are a great time to unwind from the rigors of work and to relish delicacies that you may have thought sinful during the normal course of your life. When you travel, you see exotic places and taste local food, eating more than you normally would. It is quite common that you put on a little weight but you never seem to think twice about that.

Researchers from the University of Georgia's Family and Consumer Sciences found that adults who were on vacation for a period ranging from one to three weeks showed an increase of one pound in weight. This is a very alarming situation as the average American puts on only one to two pounds per year. When a considerable portion of that weight gain comes from only a week or more of eating, it is highly unhealthy, claim the researchers.

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About the Study:

This study was conducted by Cooper JA from The University of Georgia and Tokar T from Texas Tech University.

The weight gain of 122 adults going on a 1 to 3 weeks vacation was noted down and their weight after 6 weeks was again recorded. The results of the study showed that there was significant weight gain after the vacation but the weight gain persisted even 6 weeks after the vacation.

The endless eating binges and lazy times enjoyed during vacations resulted in a mismatch between energy intake and energy requirement, resulting in weight gain. However, a return to the routine did not aid in losing this additional weight. This led to, what is now being called, 'creeping obesity'

Creeping obesity is when small amount of weight is added over a period of time, unnoticeable initially because of the relatively small number, but leading to considerable increase over a period of time. This can lead to a host of complications associated with obesity.

This is the first study that focused on adult weight gain during vacation; there have been other studies on school children. These studies too showed that children added to their weight during vacation time than during school days. Alexander Ag and colleagues studied over 200 first and second graders to find that weight gain increased during winter vacations, affecting the BMI growth of the children.

Highlights of These Studies:
  • A uniform healthy lifestyle should be maintained all through the year.
  • During vacations, there should be focus on healthy eating at least for lunch and dinner, when calories consumed tend to pile up.
  • Exercise that is more in tune with the mood of the period, like long walks down the beach or trekking are fun activities that won't dampen the holiday spirit but will serve to control weight gain.
  • The benefits from leading an active life during vacations will result in a glow to the face that people will get used to, encouraging the practice of exercising every day.
The study has brought to the fore weight gain during vacation and holidays and the significance of:
  • Exercising
  • Healthy eating habits
  • 'Creeping weight' gain

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26768234

Source: Medindia

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