“The world is going to have to change their acceptance of what Santa looks like,” Pickler said. “Santa is a role model, and kids don’t want to have a role model that’s fat.”

Since 1980, obesity rates among children and adolescents have almost tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 12.5 million children age 2 to 19 are obese; that extra weight can lead to serious health problems, including type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and psychosocial issues such as peer discrimination or poor self-esteem.