The effect of holiday weight gain on body weight

Physiol Behav. 2014 Jul;134:66-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.03.018. Epub 2014 Mar 21.


The topic of holiday weight gain has been a frequent subject of the lay media; however, scientific interest has only been recent. Multiple studies in Western societies have reported average weight gains among adults during the period between mid-November and mid-January that were about 0.5 kg. The range in individual weight changes was large, however, and the already overweight and obese gain more weight than those who are healthy weight. When the average gain across the year was also measured, the holiday weight was the major contributor to annual excess weight gain. Efforts patterned to increase awareness to energy balance and body weight have been shown to be successful at reducing such gain. An exception to holiday weight gain being a major contributor to annual excess gain has been children, in whom summer weight gains have been observed to be the major contributor to average excess weight gain.

Keywords: Energy balance; Obesity; Overfeeding; Summer weight gain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Holidays / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Seasons*
  • Weight Gain / physiology*