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Experts available: University of Missouri scholars share their advice for a happy and healthy holiday season

November 16th, 2018

Story Contact: Cailin Riley, 573-882-4870,

The views and opinions expressed in this “for expert comment” release are based on research and/or opinions of the researcher(s) and/or faculty member(s) and do not reflect the University’s official stance.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Prepping for the holidays often comes with thoughts of potential issues that can pop up during the season, such as family challenges, financial worries and health concerns. The University of Missouri offers the following experts as you work on stories addressing these common holiday season conundrums.

For interviews with these or other Mizzou experts, please contact Cailin Riley at (573) 882-4870 or

Saving Money: Rui Yao, associate professor of personal financial planning, studies retirement preparation and saving behavior. In a recent study, she found that nearly two-thirds of working millennials do not have retirement accounts. She can address the importance of saving, even during the holidays.

Staying Active: With the holidays right around the corner, families are planning meals and trips to spend time with loved ones. With the food and travel, it is easy for exercise schedules to become disrupted. Steve Ball, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, says that to prevent holiday weight gain, people need to focus on consistency and set realistic goals for exercise.

Seth Sherman, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at MU Health Care, can provide tips for exercising in cold weather and staying active while traveling during the holidays.

Food and Diet: Sherly Cherian, a registered dietitian with MU Health Care, can provide tips for planning healthful, delicious holiday meals and maintaining a balanced diet even during the busiest time of year.

Staying Healthy: Tara Flynn, a physician with Mizzou Urgent Care, can share tips for limiting the spread of infectious diseases such as cold, flu, strep throat and food-borne illnesses.

Christopher Sampson, an emergency physician with MU Health Care, can discuss preventative measures against holiday injuries such as falls, frost burn, accidents with new toys and more.

Kara Braudis, a dermatologist with MU Health Care, can provide tips for treating and preventing dry skin during the cold months.

Politics at the Dinner Table: Many families gathering around the table during the holidays struggle to keep differences in political views from disrupting family time. Andrea Benjamin, assistant professor of political science, says that it’s important for people to set boundaries with family and friends depending on how comfortable they are discussing politics.