HEALTH AND FITNESS MAY TOP THE LIST OF PERSONAL ISSUES TO ADDRESS IN JANUARY for many. After an indulgent holiday season that may have lasted as long as 7 weeks, there’s motivation to adhere to stricter diet and exercise routines. To get back on track with regular physical activity schedules and sensible meals. At least until mid-February.
Researchers in Copenhagen, Denmark have found evidence that splurging in December has a hidden health effect that provides another reason to shed holiday pounds and resume exercising.
A New York Times piece reported on the work of senior author Dr. Anne Langsted, whose team studied over 25,000 persons in Copehagen, age 20 to 100 (average 59 years). For 3 successive years, serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in about half this population increased significantly, into the “unhealthy range”, immediately after the Christmas season when measured in the first week of January compared with levels over the whole year.
The article provides other details.
The authors concluded, “Celebrating Christmas is associated with higher levels of total and LDL cholesterol; Celebrating Christmas is associated with a higher risk of hypercholesterolemia; and diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia should not be made around Christmas.
Dr. Lansgsted, quoted in the NYT item, indicated that a “steady high cholesterol is what’s dangerous. We can’t say for sure, but the peaks at Christmas may not be so important if you have a good level the rest of the year.”
The conclusions warn doctors not to make a diagnosis of high blood cholesterol based on what might be temporarily high lipid test results, if measured early in January. The findings should also encourage patients, to step up efforts to get back into shape, in order to more quickly bring down potentially higher post-holiday levels.
The results reported in this Danish study group may not apply to all other populations. But those of us who admit to indulgent holiday eating and reduced physical activity during this time might be willing to take it on faith that resuming healthier habits ASAP is a smart move.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
“The Christmas holidays are immediately followed by a period of hypercholesterolemia”
Signe Vedel-Krogh, Camilla J. Kobylecki, Børge G. Nordestgaard, Anne Langsted
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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