Dr Nathan Grills, from Monash University in Australia, says the current image of Santa promotes obesity, drink-driving, speeding and a general unhealthy lifestyle. He argues that "Santa only needs to affect health by 0.1% to damage millions of lives" and that it would be better if his popularity was used to promote healthy living.
While Santa is now banned from smoking, images of him enjoying a pipe or cigar can still be found on Christmas cards. Father Christmas also potentially promotes drink-driving, argues Grills, and refers to the tradition of leaving Santa Claus a brandy to wish him well on his travel, with a few billion houses to visit Santa would soon be over the limit, says the study.
Also, Santa has real potential to spread infectious diseases, says the paper. If Santa sneezes or coughs around 10 times a day, all the children who sit on his lap may end up with swine flu as well as their Christmas present, argues Grills.
While more research is needed before calling for authorities to regulate Santa's activities, Grills proposes a new image for Santa - a slimmed down version on a treadmill.
Tidigare inlägg på temat:
- Folkhälsoween - eller det går lika bra med selleri, åtminstone ifall den har lustiga ändar