Who says the holidays have to be all warm and fuzzy? According to some health groups in the UK, Christmas can be the perfect time to tell a loved one he or she is overweight.

It may sound rude, but experts insist the health risks involved with obesity, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke, make it worth the uncomfortable conversation.

“As long as you do it sensitively, discussing it with them now could help them avoid critical health risks later down the line and could even save their life,” said Professor David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum.

Still, a survey of more than 2,000 people found almost half of 18- to 24-year-olds would not tell a loved one they should lose weight for fear they would hurt the other person’s feelings. Women were most concerned about bringing up the issue with a friend, while men found it hardest to tell their partners (perhaps fearing a night or six on the sofa).

Dr. Jean Pierre Despres, scientific director of the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk, said there’s a way to approach the dicey subject diplomatically. “Start by encouraging someone close to you to make simple lifestyle changes such as becoming more active, making small alterations to their eating habits and replacing sugary drinks with water,” he said.

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