What is the relationship between the holidays and my health?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The songs of the season paint a romantic picture this time of year. But the reality is that the holidays, with their inevitable stresses, piles of rich food, and glasses of eggnog, can be very bad for your heart. According to a recent study, heart disease related deaths jump 5% this time of year; that’s almost 1,500 deaths each day. In fact, Americans have the most heart attacks on Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s. 
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The holidays can have a negative impact on your health, both emotionally and physically. For many people, the season can increase stress due to demands on your time and your budget. Relationships can be strained as well. Physically, it can be difficult to maintain exercise programs with all of these demands, and unhealthy eating habits are encouraged with the abundance of rich foods at holiday parties and the workplace.

It is important to minimize stress by planning ahead, creating a budget for gift giving and finding time to exercise. Parking further from stores, taking the stairs, or speed-walking through the mall can help burn calories when time is short. Take healthy snacks with you when shopping so you are not tempted by fast food or sweets. Limiting portion sizes at parties can help to prevent unwanted weight gain -- one strategy is to use a smaller-sized plate.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.