Sunday, December 20, 2009

Food police say Santa is too fat!

Big fat Santa planning his Christmas travels, as imagined by Norman Rockwell

It had to happen. The food police want to crack down on Santa Claus for setting a bad example because he's too fat!

In this season of ever-present Christmas cookies, an unlikely figure is leading the offensive against America's obesity epidemic. The beard on his double chin is as white as snow, and when he laughs, his little round belly shakes like a bowlful of jelly -- and that, as Ernest Berger sees it, is the problem.

Yes, Northern Virginia, Berger is a Santa Claus. But as president of the volunteer group Santa America, Berger has been nudging some of his more corpulent colleagues toward a different model of Santa. He wants his fellow members of the Claus family to give themselves the gift of less girth, calling it "a matter of self-preservation" that will also help children to whom Santa Claus is a roly-poly role model.

"I'm pushing to reduce the size of Santa by 25 percent," Berger says from his home in Daphne, Ala. "We're gently and relentlessly focused on getting these men to be positive about fitness and wellness and reducing their weight."
Berger isn't the only one who wants kids to leave carrots instead of cookies for Santa.

[A]s the obesity epidemic has swollen, some public health experts have cast an increasingly critical eye on Santa's sprawl. Two years ago, acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson said Santa's corpulence was setting a bad example. His remarks prompted howls of protest, with more than a few people accusing Galson of being politically correct in trying to make Santa physiologically correct.
Hello, Mr. Acting Surgeon General, a "bad example" of what? Right jolly old elves?

As for Berger, if he has a problem with his own weight, let him eat lettuce and work out more. But Santa is not a role model. Kids don't want to grow up to be Santa Claus. They want him say, "Ho, ho, ho," and bring them toys from the North Pole on his flying sled driven by eight tiny reindeer.

Here's a clue for the clueless food police: if Santa were going to die young of diabetes and heart disease, he'd have been long ago dead. But, curiously, he lives on...and on...and will handily outlive Berger, Galson and all the rest of us.

Any thoughts about people who want to put Santa on a diet? Post a comment.

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