Category Archives: Christmas

Santa: Role Model or Overweight Elf?

Santa, role model to children the world over? Or overweight Saint who needs to get his own act together before passing naughty/nice judgments on others? In this investigative piece Sláinte looks at the activities of this self described “jolly old elf”.

One witness this reporter interviewed saw Santa, aka St. Nicholas, the night of the twenty fourth. When asked to describe him Clement Clarke Moore said this:

“He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!”

Something tells Sláinte that round belly was neither little nor full of jelly. Santa is just plain overweight. The children might have sugar-plums dancing in their heads but Santa has them dancing through his stomach. He needs to cut back on the sweets and eat more fiber laden whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. If he follows Sláinte’s Holiday Diet, he can reduce his weight and the risks that go with it.

Santa is widest around the middle and shaped like an apple a condition health professionals call abdominal obesity. This is bad because the type of fat cells that grow around the abdominal organs (visceral fat) are different than the type of fat cells that grow under the skin (subcutaneous fat). Visceral fat is home to the killer fat cell. This tissue acts like a gland spewing dangerous chemicals, including inflammatory substances, into the bloodstream. The more fat you have the more chemicals you spew. Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis (which causes heart disease) are all associated with visceral fat and an increase in these inflammatory peptides.

The combination of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels and insulin resistance (where the body’s muscle and fat tissue resists the action of insulin) make up a condition called the metabolic syndrome. When this occurs blood glucose levels rise because the glucose cannot enter hungry cells. This is dangerous because high levels of glucose can be toxic to certain cell types and tissues including those that produce insulin.

To be fair to the big guy Santa’s nighttime delivery service might be contributing to his weight problem. Lack of sleep is associated the accumulation of visceral fat and so is the stress so common this time of the year. Maybe the elves should chip in for yoga lessons.

“His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry”

Symptoms of chilblains? Or an indication of a drinking problem? Could Santa be drinking and flying? By presidential proclamation December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. Does the President know something we don’t?

“The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.”

Santa if you are reading, that pipe has got to go. It’s a dirty habit and one that is associated with cancer of the lip, tongue, mouth, larynx and esophagus not to mention stained teeth, mouth sores and gum disease. Keep up with the pipe smoking and you might not have a “droll little mouth” or any teeth left in it to hold that pipe. Smarten up, oral cancer is the 6th leading cause of cancer in the world.

Do you see the Tooth Fairy, Tinker Bell or Easter Bunny smoke? No. Apparently they all care about the impressionable minds of their believers. Get with the program Santa and quit that nasty habit. Pass that pipe to Frosty. He can’t light up to get into trouble.

“He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.”

American and Canadian kids desperately need to get more exercise yet each year they are exposed to a man who, rather than just walk next door, prefers to get into a sleigh and fly there. Santa needs to kick the sleigh habit. Perhaps he should ask Mrs. Claus to give him the gift of a pedometer this year so he can work up to 10,000 steps a day. Sláinte’s sure if Santa wants to get back on Mrs. Claus “nice” list he will have to drop a few pounds and change a few habits.

It’s clear to this reporter that Santa desperately needs to follow the example set by his sober hard-working elves. Until he does, Santa earns a big naughty mark from Sláinte.

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. Excerpts from “A Visit from St. Nicholas” )