The effects of indoor and outdoor temperature on metabolic rate and adipose tissue - the Mississippi perspective on the obesity epidemic

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2016 Mar;17(1):61-71. doi: 10.1007/s11154-016-9358-z.


Global warming, primarily caused by emissions of too much carbon dioxide, and climate change is a reality. This will lead to more extreme weather events with heatwaves and flooding. Some studies propose an association between thermal exposures and the prevalence of obesity with an increasing trend towards time spent in the thermal comfort zone. Longterm exposure to the thermal comfort zone can lead to a reduction of brown adipose tissue activity with an impact on energy expenditure and thermogenesis. Reduced seasonal cold exposure in combination with reduced diet-induced thermogenesis by a highly palatable high-fat and high-sugar diet and reduced physical activity contribute to the prevalence of obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

Keywords: Brown fat; Cold; Cryotherapy; Metabolic rate; Obesity; Temperature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Mississippi
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*