Wow. J. came across this fabulous article in the New York Times (which discusses a paper published by some UK smarty-types in the journal Obesity Reviews). The gist of the paper / article is that there may be a causal relationship between central heating (or, more specifically, increasingly warm homes) and the explosion in obesity rates. I love it! Finally, a real reason for living the way we do that people might be able to get on board with (other than the reasons of saving money and saving the planet, which don’t seem to hold much appeal to most people.)
On the flip side, though, all through this three-year experiment I’ve had some fears that the opposite might be true: that living cold might be inducing my body to slather on an extra layer of blubber, to try and up the R-value of my natural insulation. That’s not what I want. So far, I haven’t seen much personal evidence either way. I did lose some weight last summer, and have gained it back this winter– but I was getting a lot more exercise in the summer, and have definitely been a slug since the snow fell (went skiing once– torqued my shoulder– have been sidelined since : (
Anyway, there may be some glaring holes in the author’s thesis. For example, it fails to explain why obesity rates are even higher in the south, where presumably central heating developments have had little impact, than they are in New England, where you’d think the effect would be pronounced. I call for more research!