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Doug Krizner: Christmas day may be an odd time to lecture against obesity, with the feasting and all. Perhaps no one embodies the spirit of holiday gluttony better than jolly old Saint Nick. His famous belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.
But many public health advocates say Santa needs to trade the flab for six-pack abs. A trimmer Santa, they say, could be an important tool in the fight against childhood obesity. But Cash Peters says ho, ho, NO.
Cash Peters: This whole campaign to make Santa thinner comes from -- who else? -- a marketing whiz called Dr. John Tantillo. John thinks that Santa Claus is a brand, like say, Betty Crocker is a brand. And as such, he should also be a role model, not a roly-poly model.
Dr. John Tantillo: If I were advising Santa and his handlers, I would say, "Lose about 10 percent of your bodyweight, and just eat a little less calories."
Peters: You do understand he's totally fictional?
Tantillo: Cash, are you telling me that there's no such thing as Santa Claus?
Er, I'm saying . . . let's move on. Anyway, to kickstart my campaign against making him thin, I went to the Grove Shopping Center in Los Angeles to meet their Santa. Only to find that he already was thin.
Santa: There's things that we like that may not be so good for us in large amounts -- cookies and the cakes and the plum pudding and such. We can also have the carrots, we can have the celeries.
Oh, well, yes, we can have the celeries, Santa, but what's Christmas-y about that? Or about sitting on a guy's knee and having him reel off a bunch of health research?
Santa: They did a study years ago . . .
Yeah -- like that! I mean, it's all gotten way too PC for me. Stop attacking Santa, John.
Tantillo: I would not attack Santa, I would just make a recommendation to watch those transfats.
Peters: But how do you know Santa eats transfats? It's a drawing!
Peters: It's Christmas Eve, you come down the chimney, there on the table is a bag of carrots or a chocolate cake. In the morning, which has disappeared?
SANTA: If it's me, it's going to be the carrots, because the reindeer are not gonna much want that chocolate cake.
Peters: I think Santa's lying.
Santa: No, because I see the effects that this is having on the children.
Well, that's nice. Personally, I think the guy should focus less on his health, and more on what he does best: giving us stuff.
SANTA: This is Santa, you can ask for anything you want. What would it be?
Peters: A new career.
OK! In Los Angeles, I'm Cash Peters for Marketplace -- though not for much longer, apparently. Thanks, Santa!