Boozy Fat Santa 'Sets A Bad Example'
Updated: Thursday, 17 Dec 2009, 7:06 AM CST
Published : Thursday, 17 Dec 2009, 7:05 AM CST
(Sydney Daily Telegraph) - He's adored by millions of children worldwide, but Santa Claus been accused of acting in ways that could "damage millions of lives."
As the mythical man in red zooms around the planet delivering gifts this Christmas, he is an unwitting promoter of obesity, disease and even driving under the influence, according to an Australian academic.
Dr Nathan Grills from Australia's Monash University, said Santa's "rotund sedentary image" had the effect of making "obesity synonymous with cheerfulness and joviality" around the world.
In a paper published by the British Medical Journal, he also noted that children are encouraged to leave out hard liquor such as Brandy for a man who has a lot of travel to do in one night.
Other dangerous activities on Santa's list of festive wrongdoings include "speeding, disregard for road rules and extreme sports such as roof surfing and chimney jumping", because "despite the risks of high speed air travel, he is never depicted wearing a seatbelt or helmet."
Dr Grills added that amid a global flu pandemic, most people who stand in as Santa impersonators are not required to undergo a health check as they get "kissed and hugged" by a succession of "snotty-nosed kids."
"Given Santa's universal appeal, and reasoning from a public health perspective, Santa needs to affect health by only 0.1 percent to damage millions of lives," he concluded.
In order to improve Santa's public image, Dr Grills urged children to leave out carrots and celery this Christmas in the place of mince pies and sherry, and recommended that instead of using a sleigh, the man himself should be "encouraged to adopt a more active method to deliver toys - swapping his reindeer for a bike or simply walking or jogging".