Human total, basal and activity energy expenditures are independent of ambient environmental temperature

iScience. 2022 Jun 28;25(8):104682. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104682. eCollection 2022 Aug 19.


Lower ambient temperature (Ta) requires greater energy expenditure to sustain body temperature. However, effects of Ta on human energetics may be buffered by environmental modification and behavioral compensation. We used the IAEA DLW database for adults in the USA (n = 3213) to determine the effect of Ta (-10 to +30°C) on TEE, basal (BEE) and activity energy expenditure (AEE) and physical activity level (PAL). There were no significant relationships (p > 0.05) between maximum, minimum and average Ta and TEE, BEE, AEE and PAL. After adjustment for fat-free mass, fat mass and age, statistically significant (p < 0.01) relationships between TEE, BEE and Ta emerged in females but the effect sizes were not biologically meaningful. Temperatures inside buildings are regulated at 18-25°C independent of latitude. Hence, adults in the US modify their environments to keep TEE constant across a wide range of external ambient temperatures.

Keywords: Human Physiology; Human activity in medical context; Human metabolism.