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Air Conditioning & Obesity

chris0912chris0912 Posts: 242Member Member Posts: 242Member Member
I read an article a year or so ago suggesting a possible link between air conditioning and obesity. It talked about how, in the days before central air and forced-air heat, the body's normal cycle was to bulk up when the weather started to get chilly in the fall (to provide an extra layer of fat insulation) and then to shed that extra weight when the weather broke in the spring. But since the advent of controlled heating and cooling, we're fooling our bodies into keeping the weight and then adding on to it. By not experiencing the weather fluctuations, our bodies do not have to work (and thus burn more calories) to warm up or cool down. And it starts to create a cycle... the heavier we are, the hotter we get, so we crank the air down another degree.

I think this makes a lot of sense. I have always been one for turning the air on as soon as the weather hits 80 because I hate to sweat. I'll definitely be reconsidering that this summer.


  • chris0912chris0912 Posts: 242Member Member Posts: 242Member Member
    sorry, don't remember where i read it.

    this was based on scientific study. and they did not claim it to be the be-all-end-all reason for obesity. they merely stated that it appeared to be a contributing factor (like diet, lifestyle, quitting smoking, etc).
  • glovepuppetglovepuppet Posts: 1,743Member Member Posts: 1,743Member Member
    Correlation ≠ causation

    The advent of Aircon coincided with the advent of a lot of labour saving devices. Anecdotally, if you notice more obese people using Aircon, it could just be that being obese makes people suffer more in the heat.

    I'm not going to say it's impossible that there's a slight impact, but I'd want to see evidence before I give the theory any weight.
  • gottswaldgottswald Posts: 122Member, Premium Member Posts: 122Member, Premium Member
    Shivering burns a lot of calories...
  • rosebarnalicerosebarnalice Posts: 2,817Member Member Posts: 2,817Member Member
    Funny that I was having a conversation about this with an older friend of mine (early 70s) who is convinced that air conditioning has made subsequent generations "soft."

    As a forester for more than 40 years (very active, lots of manual labor and time outdoors) he said he ate "nary a thing" in the summer because the heat made him sick to his stomach. "Biscuit and coffee for breakfast, and then nothing but water until after the sun went down." In contrast, in cooler weather, he said he could could "eat like a horse and work like a steam engine"
  • TallGent66TallGent66 Posts: 81Member Member Posts: 81Member Member
    I don’t agree at all with this observation.

    Never, in all my 67 years have lived in a home with AC. More over, I live in MN where we have very cold winters, for months on end. We have festivals and outdoor activities all winter long, as well as the rest of the year. Kind of blows this theory. I became obese from overeating, and I would guess that’s true for most people. Personal responsibility is sadly lacking today. Too willing to blame something, or someone else. There’s nothing, or no one else to blame for my obesity. It lies squarely on my shoulders.

    P.S. we are having temperatures in high 80’s -90’s , with very high humidity and tropical dew points at present. We get it all here!

    My family in the Twin Cities say the mosquito is the state bird!
  • LyndaBSSLyndaBSS Posts: 6,789Member, Premium Member Posts: 6,789Member, Premium Member
    Hmmmmm. Well, if nothing else, I'm probably burning a few calories wondering if the theory holds water, which I do when there's no a/c. 😯
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