Huffington blog DARE TO BE 100


December 5, 2017

One of my happy responsibilities is medical adviser to the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation. I take this job seriously. Diabetes is a global scourge savaging the lives of millions of people, and with the surge of globesity it gives every evidence of an epidemic.

And here comes dear old Santa jolly and plump to enchant all of our holidays. He is the absolute icon of pleasure, but is he healthy?

I checked with Wikipedia , and there is no notation of his health. He certainly looks hale and robust, but appearances are often misleading. I called the North Pole Health Center for their input. He is apparently overdue for a check up. He clearly has risk factors that bear attention. First, he is old, several thousand years old at latest reckoning. This places him in the “watch out”, ?”worn out” category. Diabetes is much more common as we age.

Second he is a male, and we all know how risky that is. Sometimes it seems that all old people are female. Mother Nature places a higher priority on the well-being of our ladies.

But this is at least partially offset by the fact that he is married. Frau Claus has been the best insurance policy for his longevity. Long may she reign!

Little is made in the fables of his smoking habit. It seems that he takes a puff on his pipe every now and then, but this seems not to be a major risk issue.

How much stress does Santa have? I doubt that anyone of us could bear up under the responsibility that Santa has to hustle up all those goodies that appear under the tree. But somehow he seems to enjoy it.

? exercise. I have never read that Santa wears a step counter,. but every surmise indicates that he has many thousand steps in every day. He is a long distance Santa, a marathoner in every regard.

But obscuring the influences of these other characterizations is the undeniable fact that Santa is fat. His BMI is off the chart. Any insurance actuary would red flag any application that he would submit for coverage.

But Santa’s weight is intrinsic to his being. A skinny Santa couldn’t make it in this image -centric World. Should Santa go on a diet?

Innumerable academic studies show an inverse relationship between body weight and happiness. Fat people aren’t happier, in fact the opposite prevails.

But more important than happiness is health. Obesity penalizes health so major health promotion organizations are critical of employing Santa as the poster child for holiday festivity. A few years ago Michelle Obama directly addressed this concern at the White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Somehow our culture must deconstruct the close connection that we feel between health, happiness, and body weight. Too many sitcoms flaunt this reality.



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