Turning Down the Thermostat May Decrease Abdominal Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Keigo Saeki, MD, PhD

Nara Medical University School of Medicine
Nara, Japan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cold exposure causes higher blood pressure and higher coagulation status, and it may be a trigger of higher mortality from cardiovascular diseases in winter.

In contrast, cold exposure may have preventive effect on obesity. Recent study found that most of human have brown adipose tissue (BAT) which play an important role in thermogenesis and in the regulation of body weight. Cold exposure activates thermogenesis in BAT, and increase energy expenditure. However, in real life situation, the association between the amount of cold exposure and obesity stays unclear.

The HEIJO-KYO study is a community based study to investigate association between housing environment and health. We found that people living in colder housing environment showed lower abdominal circumference in simple correlation and even after adjustment for physical activity, total energy intake, and socioeconomic status.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Our data suggest that indoor cold exposure may be effective from obesity in real life situation. Further investigation with longitudinal follow up is necessary.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our To establish a safe and appropriate cold exposure for prevention from obesity, we need further study about appropriate timing and amount of cold exposure to activate brow adipose tissue.


Saeki K, Obayashi K, Kurumatani N. #FRI-608: Obesity and Indoor Cold Exposure: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Population-Based Study. Presented at: ENDO 2016; April 1-4, 2016; Boston, MA.

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