For many, the Christmas and New Year period is traditionally seen as one of health and good cheer. A viewpoint perhaps now tempered slightly by the publication of a recent study by professor David Phillips along with colleagues Gwendolyn Barker and Kimberly Brewer from the University of California, San Diego and from UC Los Angeles. Their paper ‘Christmas and New Year as risk factors for death’ (Social Science & Medicine, Volume 71, Issue 8, October 2010, Pages 1463-1471) describes how an analysis of no less than 57,451,944 US death certificates (from 1979 to 2004) showed that :
“Christmas and New Year appear to be risk factors for deaths from many diseases.”
But are there any suggested solutions for such sombre seasonal spikes?
The research team tested nine possible explanations, but the results were not entirely clearcut. Reminding us that “… further research is needed.”