Can Weather Cause Weight Gain?

British actress and model Elizabeth Hurley and her husband, Arun Nayer, arrive at the Golden Age of Couture Gala at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Sept. 18, 2007. Hollywood stars joined top designers and models for the fundraiser, one of the biggest events in the fashion calendar. AP

Harsh weather could nudge up your weight, new research shows.

It might not take a tornado, blizzard, or even a thunderstorm to make a difference. Hot and cold temperatures could also have an effect, say Baylor University's Ge Lin, PhD, and colleagues.

The problem, they suggest, is that when it's too hot or too cold outside, people may avoid physical activity. That might sound like common sense, and their research seems to support that idea.

With summer coming, it might be a good time to plan ahead for hot months. Options include shifting activities to cooler parts of the day or working out in a gym. Drinking enough water, dressing appropriately, and protecting skin from the sun are also important.


Ideal Conditions

Outdoor temperatures from 25-85 degrees Fahrenheit are considered amenable to physical activity, say Lin and colleagues. They did an extensive literature review to come up with that range.

Hourly U.S. weather records from 1990 to 1995 showed how often those ideal weather conditions occurred. Data on physical activity and body mass index (BMI) came from the 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national phone survey done by the CDC in all U.S. states, territories, and Washington, D.C.

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