Body temperatures in the elderly: a national study of physiological, social, and environmental conditions

Br Med J. 1973 Jan 27;1(5847):200-6. doi: 10.1136/bmj.1.5847.200.


Two large-scale surveys of body temperatures in elderly people living at home were carried out in the winter of 1972. Most of the homes visited were cold with room temperatures below the minimum recommended by the Department of Health. Deep body temperatures below 35.5 degrees C were found in 10% of those studied, and the difference between the skin temperature and the core temperature was also reduced in this group. Such individuals are at risk of developing hypothermia since they show evidence of some degree of thermoregulatory failure. Further research is needed, but meanwhile there are practical measures that could be taken to reduce the risk of hypothermia in the elderly.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Body Temperature*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Heating
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Seasons
  • Skin Temperature
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom
  • Weather