Some animal research has suggested that a cooler body temperature is a marker for a slower metabolism, which can increase the risk of obesity.
The theory is based on the idea that people with a higher core temperature are less likely to pack on the pounds because the body has to burn calories in order to rid itself of excess heat and return to a desirable internal temperature. A cooler core temperature would mean less heat to shed and require fewer calories to be burned. However, these latest findings suggest otherwise.
To investigate, researchers compared the average core temperature of a group of obese adults with that of thinner men and women.
In one experiment, 46 obese and 35 normal-weight or overweight adults swallowed a wireless, temperature-sensing capsule that continuously monitored their body temperature over 24 hours.
On average, the study found, there was no difference in the two groups' core temperatures, with both groups around 36.9 degrees Celsius.
In a second experiment, the researchers used the capsules to measure core temperature in 19 obese and 11 normal-weight people over 2 days, while the participants kept a record of their daily activities.
Again, the two groups were similar with no clear differences in body-temperature fluctuations throughout the day.
The study is the largest so far to look at core temperature and obesity in humans.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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