Media Tip Sheet: Holiday Health & Fitness

November 16, 2023

christmas cookies in the forefront with a blurred background of holiday decorations

WASHINGTON (November 16, 2023) - With the holiday season upon us, many people are looking forward to festive foods, gatherings with loved ones, shopping for gifts and other traditions. Yet experts say the holiday season can also be a time of weight gain, loneliness and stress.

Faculty at the George Washington University are available to offer insight, commentary and analysis on a number of topics related to the holiday season. If you would like to speak with an expert, please contact GW Media Relations at [email protected].

Holiday Health & Fitness

Leigh Frame is Executive Director of the Office of Integrative Medicine and Health, Co-Founder and Associate Director of the GW Resiliency & Well-being Center at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She can speak about taking a holistic health perspective around the holidays, focusing on not just eating well and exercising, but also reducing stress and spending time with loved ones.

Loretta DiPietro is a professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. She can talk about holiday meals and how a 15 minute post-meal walk may lower your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes. She can also offer tips on how to stay in shape this winter and a plan for building more exercise into daily life.

Food Safety

Barbara Kowalcyk is an associate professor of exercise and nutrition science at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is a national food safety expert with training in epidemiology, public health informatics, risk science and public policy. She can discuss tips for preparing a safe, healthful holiday meal.

Lance B. Price is professor of environmental and occupational health at GW Milken Institute School of Public Health and director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at the George Washington University. Earlier this year he published a study that suggests foodborne E. coli may cause hundreds of thousands of urinary tract infections in the US every year. He can discuss safety tips for cooks preparing the turkey and other festive meals. 

Mental Health

Melissa Batchelor, an associate professor of nursing and geriatric nursing researcher, is the director of GW's interdisciplinary Center for Aging, Health and Humanities. Batchelor is a nurse and PhD with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care and healthcare space. She can discuss grief and loss during the holidaysmaintaining traditions when a loved one has Alzheimer's disease, and the four things to check for with aging parents during the holidays.

Laurie Theeke is the Associate Dean for the PhD in Nursing Program. Her program of research is centered on the problem of loneliness and understanding how it influences the human health experience. Through her research, she is working to better understand how we can help lonely people and to reduce the stigma associated with loneliness. She can discuss loneliness around the holidays and ways to cope with these feelings.