Published On: Mon, Dec 18th, 2023

Santa Claus is morbidly obese, with a BMI of 41.5, researchers reveal | Films | Entertainment

Santa Claus is morbidly obese, with a BMI of 41.5 – with the largest portrayal coming in animated festive film, “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Researchers analysed 10 popular Christmas movies, TV shows, and adverts, to calculate his average BMI, revealing he far exceeds a healthy weight of between 18.5 to 24.9 – and just creeps into the morbidly, or severely, obese category, as his is over 40.

Tim Burton’s festive fright has Santa standing at 5ft 5in, and weighing in at 300 pounds – meaning his BMI is an unhealthy 49.9. He is also on the bigger side in “The Snowman” and “Elf”, where his BMI checks in at 45.5, and 44.7, respectively.

However, the slimmest Santa was played by Richard Attenborough in 1994’s “Miracle on 34th Street”. At 5ft 6ins, and weighing 176 pounds, his BMI here is 28.4 – meaning he’s the only Santa who isn’t considered obese.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at ZAVA, who reviewed a combination of factors, such as the height of the actor, and compared visual depictions with imagery of body shapes and their known weights, to calculate his BMI.

It comes after the online doctor also commissioned a poll of 2,000 adults, which found one in four think these unhealthy Santas actually encourage overeating during the Christmas period.

Dr Babak Ashrafi, clinical lead for service development at ZAVA, which compiled a “” featuring simple swaps for classic Christmas food and drinks, said: “Over the years, there have been many beloved depictions of Santa.

“But across all these variations, one thing has stood the test of time – and that’s him being on the larger side.

“In fact, his weight in most of these festive favourites is actually considered dangerous, and he would urgently need to change his lifestyle – otherwise, he could encounter a raft of weight-related problems, including diabetes and heart problems.

“As we are more conscious than ever when it comes to unhealthy portrayals having a knock-on impact on our own health, it would seem many believe Father Christmas could make a few healthier choices, to continue spreading festive cheer for many years to come.”

The research also found 55 percent admit their healthy eating and drinking habits will “go out of the window” this Christmas, with 31 percent finding it difficult to say “no” to indulgent food and drink when they are in the festive mood.

And 80 percent do believe Christmas time in general encourages an over-consumption of decadent foods. However, 32 percent will try to keep an eye on their calorie intake over the festive period – as 19 percent always try to be healthy, so won’t change at this time of year.

Meanwhile, 14 percent of these want to avoid putting on weight during the festive celebrations, according to the poll, conducted via OnePoll.

That being said, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, and turkey breast are the foods Christmas revellers would not be prepared to swap out for a healthier alternative. And many will draw the line at stuffing, mince pies, and Christmas pudding, when it comes to seeking healthier options.

Dr Babak Ashrafi, at ZAVA, which offers medical treatments including weight-loss products, added: “As the holiday season tempts our taste buds with festive delights, it’s an annual challenge to resist the allure of beloved treats.

“Christmas brings cherished traditions and flavours, making it difficult to say no to the classics we hold dear. While relishing these festive delights, it’s important to savour in moderation, keeping a watchful eye on our intake and embracing mindful choices, to ensure that our celebrations are not only delightful, but also healthy.”

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