Debating whether to shove that danish in your mouth before braving the blizzard later this afternoon? Go for it. Because according to Popular Science (in a post illustrated by a picture of Santa), body fat tends to make you less vulnerable to hypothermia.
The magazine points to to two specific examples. Scientists studied participants in an annual Australian winter swim and found those with a higher BMI were less likely to get hypothermia. And in hospitals, medical pros have found it's harder to induce hypothermia (sometimes done for therapeutic reasons) in the obese.
"The extra fat seems to insulate the body's core," concludes PopSci. Basically those of us carrying extra poundage are walking around with a heating blanket tucked under our epidermis. Not that you'd necessarily feel any better in extreme cold, because the body constricts blood vessels near the skin to keep your core toasty.
It's also good to be muscular, though: "We have a joke around here that the person who's best-suited for cold is fit and fat," a researcher with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine told PopSci.
This is all very comforting if you are fat and just read this old Outside piece about how horrible freezing to death is. However this should not be taken as an excuse for plus-size retailers to offer a paltry selection of coats, are you listening Lane Bryant???
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