Seasonal and Festive Factors: Do They Influence Weight Gain?

Seasonal and Festive Factors: Do They Influence Weight Gain?
Dr. Benyamin Mansoori
Dr. Benyamin Mansoori

Advance Diploma in General Dermatology
Diploma of Cosmetic Medicine

Weight Management Clinic Southbank

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A significant 67% of adults aged 18 and above are overweight or obese in Australia, as reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This issue seems to affect men slightly more than women.
While weight gain remains a primary concern, researchers are delving into the reasons behind its occurrence. Some theories suggest cultural events like New Year or Christmas celebrations might be primary culprits behind yearly weight gain. Others believe it’s a seasonal pattern, with people gaining weight during winter and losing it in summer. This phenomenon hasn’t been extensively explored in Australia, prompting fresh research.
A collaborative study between the University of South Australia and the University of Queensland involved over 300 participants from Adelaide, aged between 18 to 65. For a year, participants were equipped with Fitbits and instructed to document their weight daily. Initially, the average weight of participants was around 84 kilograms, with a roughly even distribution across the standard BMI classifications, including normal, overweight, and obese.
The findings showed that an individual’s weight typically sees a week-to-week variation of about 250 grams. Over the span of a year, there was an average weight gain of approximately 220 grams per participant. A notable weight surge was observed from December to January, amounting to around 500 grams, which then gradually reduced until April (the onset of autumn). The trend then saw an upward curve until winter’s end, tapering off as spring approached.
The data indicates both seasonal and cultural impacts on weight. The colder months result in a consistent weight gain trend, while significant spikes are seen during festive periods like Christmas and Easter. Furthermore, the study found weight tends to peak post-weekend, reflecting dietary indulgences many engage in from Friday to Sunday. Considering these findings, the researchers suggest that weight management strategies might benefit from being tailored to these specific periods.

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