Almost half of the Irish population gains between two and three pounds over the holiday season, new research shows.

Most Irish people gain excess weight due to larger food portions and an over indulgence in chocolates, according to the research commissioned by Aviva Health Insurance.

Alcohol excess is also a problem with the study showing that at least one in four people tend to drink 10 more units of alcohol over a typical Christmas week, in comparison to a normal week.
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One in four people gain around three pounds over Christmas, while nearly one in four gain two pounds. Overall one in four eat twice as much as they normally would over the Christmas, while almost 50 percent admit to eating one and a half times more than usual.

Dr Stephen Murphy, Aviva medical council GP, noted that January is a time when people try to get back in shape.

“Being proactive about your health is much more than losing weight in the short-term. Even just 30 minutes of exercise three times a week can have a huge impact on your energy and stress levels, sleeping patterns and risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease," Murphy said.