An Evaluation of Holiday Weight Gain Among Elementary-aged Children

Paul Wesley Branscum, Gail Kaye, Paul Succop, Manoj Sharma


Background: Previous studies suggest adults gain extra weight during the holiday season, however, few studies have been done with children during this time. The purpose of this study was to evaluate gains in growth among elementary children, and compare differences by gender and weight status.

Methods: Children’s (n = 90) height and weight were measured before and after their holiday break. Height, weight and body mass index (BMI) and body mass index-percentiles (BMI-%) were evaluated and compared by groups using repeated measures ANCOVA’s.

Results: On average, children grew 0.82 cm (0.32 in), and gained 0.56 kg (1.2 lbs) and 0.28 BMI units, however the average BMI-% slightly decreased by 0.4%. Overweight and obese children gained significantly more weight, BMI units and BMI-% units compared with normal weight children.

Conclusions: This study supports that the holiday period may be an important time to target children, especially those who are already overweight and obese.



Holiday weight gain; Childhood obesity

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