Overeating and drinking during Christmas could be reduced with regular weigh-ins at home and simple exercise tips.
The University of Birmingham and Loughborough University carried out the ‘Winter Weight Watch Study’ to prevent weight gain over Christmas.
Volunteers were asked to weigh themselves twice a week to help monitor their food and drink intake.
‘The festive season coincides with public holidays in many countries, providing an opportunity for prolonged over-consumption and sedentary behaviour,’ first author Frances Mason, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, said.
‘On Christmas Day alone an individual might consume 6,000 calories – three times the recommended daily allowance.
‘Christmas is likely to tax even the most experienced weight controller.
‘Low intensity interventions such as the one used in our Winter Weight Watch Study should be considered by health policy makers.
‘(It can) prevent weight gain in the population during high-risk periods such as holidays.’
Along with weighing themselves, the group were also given 10 top tips for weight management.
Tips included a list of how much activity would be needed to burn calories found in popular food and drinks.
Results showed that a comparison group, who weren’t given tips and asked to weigh themselves, ended up weighing 0.49kg more than the volunteers who were given that information.
‘On average people gain a small amount of weight of up to 1kg each year and holidays such as Christmas are responsible for most of this annual weight gain,’ senior author, professor Amanda Daley, with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, said.
‘Weight gained during holiday periods often is not subsequently lost.
‘Although these gains are small, over 10 years they would lead to a significant increase in body weight.
‘Our research has shown that a brief intervention over the Christmas period can help to prevent these small weight gains that accumulate and drive the obesity epidemic.’