How Healthy Is Santa?

Consider Santa. (Set aside for a minute what holidays you do or don't celebrate.) What do you identify as his physical characteristics? What about his lifestyle? We had a great time with this in classes this week, and came up with quite a list...

Besides being a jolly old elf, Santa: 
  • Carries a significant amount of extra fat around his middle that tends to shake like jelly 
  • Has a red nose (outdoor lifestyle at the North Pole or too much spiked eggnog?)
  • White beard, indicating he's an older guy
  • Smokes a pipe
  • Eats a high sugar, high fat diet with all those cookies and candy canes and drinks lots of hot cocoa and eggnog
  • Certainly appears to be sedentary, riding everywhere in a sleigh and having the elves do all the hard work of making toys. Though, as Marcia, one of our MM Groupies, pointed out, he probably helps with the reindeer care since he has such a good relationship with them.  And that would require physical work on his part. 
I'm a bit concerned about Santa's health. He's an obese, sedentary, older guy with a high sugar/high saturated fat diet, who smokes and may or may not drink to excess.  Think about it...

Santa could have Metabolic Syndrome; a group of conditions that occur together that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. And I, for one, do not want Santa to have a stroke, heart attack, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or peripheral artery disease. Not SANTA!!

A diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome is given if 3 out of 6 of these conditions are present:
  1.  Increased abdominal fat (apple shaped)
  • Men, waist 40" or more
  • Women, waist 35" or more
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood glucose, 100 mg/dL or more
  • Low HDL
    • Men, less than 40 mg/dL
    • Women, less than 50 mg/dL
  • Elevated Triglycerides, 150 mg/dL or more
  • Santa certainly has the tummy fat, but we can only guess at the rest. His diet and lack of exercise put him at high risk for insulin resistance, high glucose, and triglycerides. I know, I know. Santa has lived a LONG, long time, so he just may have great genes which do play a role. Not so great genes, aging, hormones, lack of exercise and poor diet all can cause metabolic syndrome.

    We came up with a few things that we'd like to encourage Santa to do to improve his health, if not for him, for the sake of the children!

    Dear Santa,

    Because we care, our MM Groupies got together and spent an evening thinking about you. Our letter is not a list of what we want for ourselves, but rather a list of ways you could help yourself reduce your chances of developing metabolic syndrome or reversing it if it hasn't gone too far...
    1. Talk with your doc in the North Pole
    2. Lose weight. Every 1/4" you lose, or 1/4# you take off that waist improves your health profile. Aim for losing 7-10% of your weight as your first goal. And we think you'll look much better in that red suit with the black belt! Janels thinks you'll do best if you decide to join us in our MM groups for support! Open invitation.
    3. Eat lots of different colorful fruits and veggies.  Can you have the elves build a greenhouse in the North Pole to grow oranges, kale and red pepper?
    4. Go for those whole grains! Try a bowl of popcorn instead of cookies with a glass of non-fat milk for a great grain snack.
    5. Eat fish at least 2 times each week.  Focus on fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, and herring, sardines. Your heart will love it.
    6. Move it, Santa! Work up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 - 7 days each week. How about giving yourself the gift of a treadmill or a bike? Or help swing a hammer in the toy shop and ride those reindeer.
    7. Work with your doc to reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure if they are up.
    8. Quit smoking. Try a bubble pipe, Santa!
    And if you need motivation, Santa, think about all the millions of children who love you. It's time to start giving them a healthier, more fit vision of Santa to look up to. You're worth it! 

    Your "On The Way to Wellness" Friends