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Christmas waistlines

Media Release

18 December 2008

Christmas waistlines

Gobble, gobble, gobble! The season of fine food, wines, men in red suits and over-eating is upon us.

Traditionally, Christmas and Boxing Day are 48 hours of feasting where three standard meals a day turns into one continuous graze. Throughout the nation we are herded towards trestle tables and any notion we have of dietary self control flies out the window. Many of us not only over-eat at this time but eat until we feel sick.

Boxing Day was once the day of giving gifts to the less fortunate, in a box. Now it just means boxing-on with overeating and maybe getting out to a few post-Christmas sales if we can raise ourselves off the couch.

As you raise your glass of beer, wine or champagne in a toast to family and friends reflect that drinking too much has an effect beyond what you would predict. Alcohol is used as energy for the body first before any other forms of energy. It’s a very energy dense food, second only to fat. “Fat provides 9 calories per gram, alcohol 7 calories per gram, compared to other nutrients such as carbohydrates providing 4 calories per gram" says Diabetes New Zealandnational dietician Alison Pask.

In fact, one 200ml glass of dry white wine provides a similar energy content to 2 average sized potatoes or 9 teaspoons of fresh cream or 2 large peanut brownie cookies.If you end up having a few drinks, a bottle of wine has 640 calories which is about a 1/3 of the energy intake of an average woman, and would take about one hour of jogging to work off and that doesn’t even include the dinner!

Not only does alcohol contain calories, it is also an appetite stimulant, resulting in you eating more not less of the Christmas fare.

Diabetes New Zealand president Mike Smith says “If you imbibe over Christmas then you need to balance it off through the rest of the holidays with exercise and moderate eating for the holiday break.”

This Boxing Day take the time to measure your own waste line.For European, Maori & PacificIslandmen you need to measure in at less than 102cm, woman less than 88cm. The waist circumference is used to assess abdominal obesity. The larger the waist the greater the risk of a number of chronic conditions including, Type 2 diabetes.

There are 800,000 overweight or obese people in New Zealandwho are at risk from Type 2 diabetes, so think before you overeat and drink, do you want to end up in a box, before you have to.


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