Dr Nathan Grills, a fellow at Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine yesterday accused Santa of promoting obesity, smoking, drink-driving and other dangerous activities, and said his increasing popularity should be used to encourage healthy living instead.
After conducting a literature review of Santa’s links to public health, Dr Grills said Santa often appeared fat, sedentary, drunk and smoking a pipe when more responsible imagery would depict him running on a treadmill with a badge proudly declaring he had quit smoking.
Writing in a special Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, Dr Grills said that among other things, traditional images of Santa sent a message that obesity was synonymous with cheerfulness and joviality… Dr Grills said he was also concerned about Santa’s “roof surfing”, “chimney jumping”, disregard for road rules and tendency to drink-drive and speed. “Despite the risks of high-speed air travel, Santa is never depicted wearing a seat belt or helmet,” he said…
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