Lonely Planet Writer

Not so shocking research says holidays make you fat!

New research has validated an equation we all probably know too well – going on holiday means gaining weight for most people.

People on holiday eat and drink more and while they also exercise increasingly while away, that gain is offset by a reduction in activity when they get back home
People on holiday eat and drink more and while they also exercise increasingly while away, that gain is offset by a reduction in activity when they get back home Image by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

While previous studies showed that particular holidays such as Christmas led to extra pounds, the latest analysis also considered the impact of shorter breaks on your body. TheJournal.ie reported that holidaymakers normally put on one pound on breaks lasting up to three weeks, but some actually can actually gain up to seven pounds in that time.

Holidaymakers drink twice as much when away than n at home
Holidaymakers drink twice as much when away than n at home Image by Thomas sauzedde / CC BY 2.0

Considering that people usually put on between one and two pounds in an entire year, Associate Professor in the department of food and nutrition at Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Jamie Cooper said the increase was “pretty substantial” in such a short time. He warned that the findings backed the notion of a “creeping obesity” in society.

Tourists eat more during their holidays, leading to weight gain
Tourists eat more during their holidays, leading to weight gain Image by Mats Hagwell / CC BY 2.0

The US study focused on 122 adults aged between 18 and 65, who holidayed for between one and three weeks, was carried out over a six-month period. Results found that 61% of those involved put on weight – just under a pound. The reason for this was obvious, according to the researchers – people eat and drink more when they are away.

The study found that greater numbers now make an effort to exercise when on holidays. However that was more than offset by the decrease in activity when they returned home. The study also found that imbibing doubles from eight drinks per week when at home to 16 while away on holiday. Although it was noted that people returning to work felt less stressed after a holiday and with a reduction in their blood pressure. Details of the study were published in the journal, Physiology and Behavior.