Santa Claus is Clinically Depressed


Poor ole Santa.

For all these years, we thought that he was jolly and full of Christmas (sorry, Seasonal Holiday) Cheer.

Little did we know, he has a dark secret.

Santa suffers from obesity, type 2 diabetes, clinical depression and may even have a drinking problem.


But how could we have known?

It really isn’t too surprising.

In a recent study, scientists in the Netherlands have proven that a link exists between abdominal obesity and depression.

And Santa does have a bit of a belly.

How about you?

The Research

In this 5 year study, Dutch researchers found that “older adults with symptoms of depression appear more likely to gain abdominal fat”. Interestingly, in this study, the link applies only to abdominal fat, not overall body fat.

This study builds upon previous studies ( here, here, and here ) that suggested a link between general obesity and depression.

santa-cokeSo, let me get this straight…not all fat people are jolly?

Well, that certainly messes with Coca-Cola’s Christmas marketing plan, doesn’t it.

What are we supposed to do with a depressed Santa Claus?

Get him a prescription for antidepressants?

Buy him some personal training sessions?

Lap Band surgery?

Study Conclusions

According to the experts, “There are several mechanisms by which depression might increase abdominal fat. Chronic stress and depression may activate certain brain areas and lead to increased levels of the hormone cortisol, which promotes the accumulation of visceral fat”.

“Individuals with depression may have unhealthier lifestyles, including a poor diet, that could interact with other physiological factors to produce an increase in abdominal obesity”.

My Conclusions

Depression may indeed be a cause of abdominal obesity.

Depression may lead to increased cortisol which may lead to increased abdominal obesity.


  • A typical 21st century lifestyle is loaded with stress
  • Stress is linked to anxiety and depression
  • The typical Western diet is a primary cause of systemic inflammation
  • Inflammation is linked to abdominal obesity
  • Depression often results in physical inactivity and unhealthy lifestyle choices

Perhaps, it isn’t the depression causing the obesity.

Perhaps it isn’t the obesity causing the depression.

Perhaps it is the combination of a stressful lifestyle, combined with a whole host of poor lifestyle choices that is causing the obesity and the depression.

But then again, what do I know?


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  1. Hmm.. the chicken or the egg?

    I could imagine that people being dissatisfied with their stressful lifestyle and the fact that they make poor lifestyle choices (but don’t know why or what to do about it) causing mild depression, which could then lead to a whole list of other outcomes:

    Poor self-image, boredom, being sedentary, emotional eating, addiction…

    Poor Santa.

  2. I wonder if whoever invented the story of Santa really made him to be obese? After each telling, he just got fatter and fatter.

    I see why Santa is stressed. It’s cold in the North Pole with little daylight hence possibility of SAD (except that it is daily instead of seasonal). You only have Mrs. Claus and the elves for company. No exercise, hearty winter meals, and definitely drinking problem with that red nose and cheeks….. 😀

  3. Dr. Tantillo (‘the marketing doctor’) has a marketing and branding blog and did a recent post on Santa’s need for what he refers to as a ‘brandover’:

    “Santa can be plump and huggable, but he shouldn’t be a walking heart attack. And besides, being fat isn’t a Santa brand essential. Being caring and generous are essentials. But what’s caring or generous about leading kids down the fast track to diabetes? No thanks, Santa.”

    Full post:

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