Writing in the Christmas issue published on bmj.com, Dr Nathan Grills, from Monash University in Australia, says Santa promotes obesity, drink-driving, speeding and a general unhealthy lifestyle.
He argues “Santa only needs to affect health by 0.1 percent to damage millions of lives.”
To reach his conclusion about the jolly gent’s potential negative impact on public health, Grills reviewed literature and web-based material.
Grills found that “Santa sells, and sometimes he sells harmful products” and this happens on a global scale.
“Like Coca-Cola, Santa has become a major export item to the developing world”, says the author.
Father Christmas also potentially promotes drink-driving, argues Grills.
The paper also states that Santa has the real potential to spread infectious disease. If Santa sneezes or coughs around 10 times a day, all the children who sit on his lap may end up with swine flu as well as their Christmas present, argues Grills.
Grills suggested that Santa should get a new image- a slimmed down version on a treadmill.