A recent report published in the International Journal of Obesity claims the biggie size fries and lack of exercise aren’t the only factors to blame for North America’s battle of the bulge.
Researchers say some aspects of modern life, including air conditioning, lack of sleep and exposure to chemicals, may be making people pudgy.
With air conditioning, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to keep cool, so it burns fewer calories.
The calories you burn just lying in bed doing nothing is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR) – about 70 percent of the calories you burn in a day can be attributed to BMR.
Temperature can have an effect on the amount of calories you need to burn in a day. For example, a 30-year-old woman, who’s 5’6″ and 120 lbs has a BMR of 1339 calories per day. A change in her body temperature of half a degree will increase her BMR by about seven percent.
Find out how to calculate your BMR below.
“Air conditioning may be contributing one, two pounds over a lifetime for the average person,” registered dietician Jennifer Sygo said. “Ultimately you have to burn more calories than you’re taking in, it’s as simple as that.”
People also tend to eat less in hot and sticky weather, so air conditioning may increase appetites in the summer months.
While your BMR is responsible for the majority of the calories you burn, the calories you shed by exercising are the most important.
What Is The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)?
You burn energy even when you’re sleeping and the BMR represents the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day.
Your BMR decreases with age, which explains why you can’t eat whatever you want and maintain a slim figure as you grow older.
BMR is determined by a number of factors including:
Age: After 20 years, it drops by about two percent per decade
Genetics: Some people are born with fast metabolisms
Gender: Men tend to have a higher BMR
Weight: The more you weigh, the higher your BMR
Body Surface Area: This is a reflection of your height and weight. Tall, thin people have higher BMRs.
Body Fat Percentage: The lower your body fat percentage, the higher your BMR
Diet: Depriving yourself of food can drastically lower your BMR
Exercise: Getting active helps to raise your BMR
Temperature: Exposure to cold temperature causes an increase in the BMR
How Do I Calculate My BMR?
The Harris-Benedict formula:
Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) – (6.8 X age in years)
Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) – (4.7 X age in years)