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UT Study Blames Obesity On Hot Temps

Updated: Wednesday, June 25 2014, 03:33 PM CDT

Researchers at the University of Texas say a new study links hot, muggy weather to higher rates of obesity.

They say their study, which appears in the American Journal of Public Health, has found that adults are less physically active -- and more obese -- in counties where summers are hot, especially if they are also humid or rainy.

"Living in Texas as I do, the results really resonated for me," said Paul von Hippel, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs who wrote the study with doctoral student Rebecca Benson. "Around June or July here, it starts getting hard to think about going outside for a jog -- or even a brisk walk -- after work, which is close to the hottest part of the day."

Researchers say there are other influences on obesity, such as demographics, sprawl, parks, stores and restaurants. But the study controlled for all those influences, and summer heat and rain or humidity still mattered.

"In a sense, the importance of weather is obvious, but we looked at some other 'obvious' things, and they didn't pan out," von Hippel said. "For example, going in we knew that Coloradans were exceptionally thin and active, so we expected to find that hills and mountains encourage physical activity. But it turns out that terrain matters very little for activity or obesity. In some mountainous areas, like Colorado, people are very active, but in others, such as West Virginia, they aren't."

UT Study Blames Obesity On Hot Temps


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