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Lower indoor temperatures in winter correlate with thinner waistlines

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Elderly adults are bigger around the middle when they turn up the heat inside their homes during the cold season and have smaller waistlines when their homes stay cool, new research finds. Investigators from Japan will present their study results Friday at the Endocrine Society's 98th annual meeting in Boston.

"Although cold exposure may be a trigger of cardiovascular disease, our data suggest that safe and appropriate cold exposure may be an effective preventive measure against obesity," said the study's lead investigator, Keigo Saeki, MD, PhD, of Nara Medical University School of Medicine Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Nara, Japan.

Cold exposure activates thermogenesis, to generate body heat, in brown fat. This type of fat is the good calorie-burning fat that prior research found most humans have. However, Saeki said the association between the amount of cold exposure and obesity in real life remains unclear.

 

Elderly adults are bigger around the middle when they turn up the heat inside their homes during the cold season and have smaller waistlines when their homes stay cool, new research finds. Investigators from Japan will present their study results Friday at the Endocrine Society's 98th annual meeting in Boston.

"Although cold exposure may be a trigger of cardiovascular disease, our data suggest that safe and appropriate cold exposure may be an effective preventive measure against obesity," said the study's lead investigator, Keigo Saeki, MD, PhD, of Nara Medical University School of Medicine Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Nara, Japan.

Cold exposure activates thermogenesis, to generate body heat, in brown fat. This type of fat is the good calorie-burning fat that prior research found most humans have. However, Saeki said the association between the amount of cold exposure and obesity in real life remains unclear.

He and his colleagues used data from 1,103 participants in the HEIJO-KYO study, a community-based study in Japan, to investigate the association between housing environment and health in home-dwelling older adults. The participants had an average age of 72, and all stayed home in the daytime. Almost 47 percent of the group were men.

For each year of the study (2010 to 2014), the subjects underwent measurement of their abdominal, or waist, circumference before the study began in October and after it ended in April. Waist circumference measures belly fat and can help predict the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Thermostat lower image via Shutterstock.

THE ENDOCRINE SOCIETY via EurekAlert