Influence of mild cold on 24 h energy expenditure in 'normally' clothed adults

Br J Nutr. 1990 May;63(3):481-8. doi: 10.1079/bjn19900135.


Ten subjects aged 19-35 years (four men and six women) underwent two measurements of 24 h energy expenditure (EE) in a whole-body respiration calorimeter, one at a temperature of 28 degrees and one at 20 degrees. Choice of clothing was allowed. Dietary intake was standardized and subjects were asked to follow the same pattern of activity during both measurements. Mean 24 h EE was significantly greater at the cooler temperature by 5.0 (SD 5.5)%, with individual differences ranging from 4.6% lower to 12.6% higher. The difference in EE at the two temperatures was similar during the day and the night and occurred even though subjects wore more clothes and used more bedding at 20 degrees. No relationship was observed between response to 20 degrees and body-weight status. In conclusion, the assumption that mild cold is unlikely to affect EE in subjects wearing normal clothing may be incorrect.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clothing
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male