Short vacation can lead to long-term weight gain

By Staff Writer • Published: April 29th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Are you going on vacation? You might return with more than memories. A new study suggests that a week off can leave you with unwanted weight.

Researchers at the University of Georgia found that adults who took a one- to three-week vacation gained an average of nearly one pound during their trips. That weight hung around for at least six weeks after the participants returned home. Most people never notice the gain.

The research team examined 122 adults between the ages of 18 and 65. They recorded participants’ height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratios. The measurements were taken a week before vacation, and again at one week and six weeks post-vacation.

Sixty-one percent of the participants gained weight — on average about three-quarters of a pound, the team found. Some people gained as much as seven pounds, while others lost weight.

One cause of weight gain was consuming high-calorie alcoholic drinks. The average number of drinks a week doubled from 8 to 16 while on vacation.

The study supports the notion of “creeping obesity,” where adults gain small amounts of weight — about 1 to 2 pounds a year — increasing the risk of future health problems.

The team noted there are some benefits to vacations, such as decreased stress levels and lower blood pressure. But they question whether the benefits can outweigh adding extra pounds.

The researchers hope future studies can examine food intake during vacation and the effectiveness of targeted interventions for cutting back on certain foods and drink.

The bottom line, the researchers note: Weigh yourself before and after vacation, and do your best to count calories on that cruise or trip.