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    Does Fat Make People Warmer?

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    It is a commonly held belief that fat can insulate a person’s core body temperature from the cold, and according to several scientific studies, having more fat on their body makes people less susceptible to hypothermia.

    It is a commonly held belief that fat can insulate a person’s core body temperature from the cold, and according to several scientific studies, having more fat on their body makes people less susceptible to hypothermia.

    Swimmers in cold water sometimes smear their bodies with animal fat for insulation, and a study of the annual Rottnest Channel swim in Western Australia showed that swimmers were less likely to get hypothermia if they had a relatively higher body mass index, or BMI.

    Another example of excess body fat slowing the effects of hypothermia occurs sometimes in hospitals when a heart attack patient is treated with therapeutic hypothermia, which takes longer to manifest in obese patients.

    Because subcutaneous fat keeps heat inside, an overweight person’s skin will still get cold, but there are other factors that make an average weight person colder overall, as they have more body surface area compared to their total body volume.

    Also muscular people are less likely to be affected by the cold because their muscle tissue generates heat.

    Catherine O’Brien, a research physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine is quoted as saying: “We have a joke around here that the person who’s best-suited for cold is fit and fat.”