University of PittsburghWith the holiday season just around the corner, here’s an interesting piece of news particularly for those on the heavier side. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn suggest that holiday and eating patterns could be affecting the obesity rates. The experts found that eating patterns change considerably and individuals must incorporate guidelines into their food pyramid for weekend and holiday eating.

Even the most dedicated dieters may find it difficult to maintain their eating habits during the holidays. Yes, the holidays could actually be challenging, but the new research indicates that may be we need to watch our weekends as well. They could be just as detrimental.

Experts analyzed two years’ worth of data on consumers’ eating behavior. Delving deeper they observed that not only the quantity but interestingly the quality also of foods consumed during a meal and over the day on weekends and holidays were much different.

This new finding was put forth by J. Jeffrey Inman, a University of Pittsburgh professor of marketing and associate dean for research in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, and his coauthor, Adwait Khare, Quinnipiac University professor of marketing.

Investigators are of the opinion that the daily caloric intake on weekends and holidays is just as important as the nutritional value of the food eaten. Feasts like those on Labor Day barbeques and Thanksgiving Day seem to center upon bonding with family and friends over tables loaded with high-calorie foods.

Inman suggests that as the quantity and quality of food consumed during this period changes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture must include recommendations for holiday and weekend eating into its food pyramid guidelines.

He further mentions that comprehending eating patterns as well as being aware that eating habit on weekends could play havoc on the diet as on weekends could help fight obesity. It would not only aid consumers but also doctors and nutritionists who could acquire more knowledge to combat obesity.

The research was published in the Fall 2009 issue of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.