warmer houses and obesity

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 26, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I have just found an article where they analyse the connection between warmer houses and obesity rates: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/Obesity/24529 This relates to one of my concerns that is the effect of more "artificial" environments in today peoples health. I mean living environments that do not closely follow the rythm of summer, autumn, spring, etc, and where the temperature (among other things) is stable all year round. What do you think on the importance of these factors?




on January 26, 2011
at 09:56 PM

I've always kept the house cold - 68 year round. And we are a bunch of fatties here - I always thought it would have the opposite effect. But is it cold because we are fat or fat because we are cold?



on January 26, 2011
at 08:04 PM

Correlation doesn't imply causation.

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3 Answers



on January 27, 2011
at 06:13 AM

Could simply mean that fat people are more likely to be sick and sick people are more likely to heat their house better. Most believe that humans evolved in tropical regions where its hot and the seasons are vastly different from what most of us now experience. If I remember correctly, there is the hot and humid typhoon season, the hot and humid rainy season, the hot and humid less rainy season, and the cold season in which it can drop to a bone chilling 83 degrees F. Or something like that. One thing I can tell you, no one has a house heater in the tropics but many do have air conditioners.

If you want to get technical, it's probably most natural for humankind to be in a warm environment where we feel comfortable. If we were designed to be in a cold environ, then we would be comfortable in a cold environ. You don't see the polar bear complaining he is a bit chilly on the ice and thata's because he is designed for the ice. He is comfortable in his native environs but probably gets hot easy if the temps rise too high beyond his normal environs. On our side, we are comfortable in our native warm environs but not comfortable out of it. But we, being humans, have more options like heaters and clothing, so we can live in a much wider variety of environs than most other animals.

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on January 26, 2011
at 07:41 PM

I would say that it doesn't have anywhere near the effect as the other things we alter. Psychologically, I think it's better to contrast cold to comfortable so you better appreciate comfortable, but metabolically, I think the difference isn't large enough to be a realistic solution to obesity, especially when there are much easier "low hanging fruits" to address first.

Interestingly, the consumption of a high fat diet results in increased mitochondrial activity and a higher body temperature and greater feeling of warmth in general (according to the Jaminets).



on January 26, 2011
at 08:47 PM

Ferris talked a bit about using cold to reduce excess body fat in 4 hour body. I agree with Travis Culp in that there's probably a better place to make bigger changes, but if everything else is dialled in and nothing else is working, it's a place to play with.

Plus, who doesn't just feel more comfortable wearing tshirts to work year round?

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