Pay attention to waistline over Lunar New Year, officials warn

Taipei, Jan. 29 (CNA) Amid Lunar New Year feasts and festivities to welcome the Year of the Horse, revelers should pay attention to their weight during a holiday season that causes up to nearly 40 percent of the country to put on two kilograms of weight, health officials caution. The Health Promotion Administration has suggested fruit and vegetables as a a healthy way to avoid holiday weight gain after a telephone survey of 1,089 adults showed that 37.9 percent of respondents put on the pounds during the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday last year. Men on average gained 2.1 kilograms, while women grew 1.8 kilograms, the survey showed. The administration's Deputy Director-General Yu Li-hui cautioned that while the adults are recommended to eat 700 calories per meal, many holiday dishes are high in calories and a single Lunar New Year meal can mean consuming four times that amount. During this year's six-day holiday, Jan. 30-Feb. 4, a 60-kg adult could gain as much as 1.4 kg even with only one meal of traditional dishes a day, the administration said. Meanwhile, the survey showed that 80 percent of respondents did not have enough fruit -- less than two servings a day -- over last year's holiday. The situation is compounded for children and teenagers who tend to prefer sugar-filled fruit juice instead of actual fruit. The Health Promotion Administration estimated that a 60-kg adult would need to bicycle for 7.5 hours, speed walk for 5.5 hours or run 3.7 hours to shed the extra calories from a single traditional meal. (By Chen Ching-fang and Lilian Wu)