Modulation of thermogenesis and metabolic health: a built environment perspective

Obes Rev. 2018 Dec:19 Suppl 1:94-101. doi: 10.1111/obr.12789.


Lifestyle interventions, obviating the increasing prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, generally focus on nutrition and physical activity. Environmental factors are hardly covered. Because we spend on average more that 90% of our time indoors, it is, however, relevant to address these factors. In the built environment, the attention has been limited to the (assessment and optimization of) building performance and occupant thermal comfort for a long time. Only recently well-being and health of building occupants are also considered to some extent, but actual metabolic health aspects are not generally covered. In this review, we draw attention to the potential of the commonly neglected lifestyle factor 'indoor environment'. More specifically, we review current knowledge and the developments of new insights into the effects of ambient temperature, light and the interaction of the two on metabolic health. The literature shows that the effects of indoor environmental factors are important additional factors for a healthy lifestyle and have an impact on metabolic health.

Keywords: Light; metabolic health; thermal comfort; thermophysiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Built Environment*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Temperature
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*