A four-year study of military personnel conducted by a quasi-governmental organization in Bethesda, Maryland has shown that getting high and staying that way can prevent obesity. That would be as in “getting high” by living somewhere that is roughly 6500 feet or higher in elevation. Sorry, it’s not about smoking dope, which still makes most people fat.
I spent my 18-22 years at sea level on the East coast. I grew up in the West at altitudes above 6,000 feet. When I got to the East one of the first things I noticed was that there were a lot of fat people, many more than I was used to seeing in my hometown. After a while you get used to anything new and so you don’t notice it anymore. Later when I returned to where I spent my youth in the Mountain West I was again shocked at how different people were; everybody looked thin to me. Even the fat ones were much less fat.
I and my machismo Spaniard friend Carlos were both 23 then and together formed a par de pícaro of young rogues out to conquer all of the fourteeners in Colorado. We nursed a crackpot theory that spending as much time as possible at high altitudes where the oxygen was thin was somehow healthy. We thought that forcing our bodies to make due with less oxygen would improve our lung capacity and make us tough hombres.
This new study on obesity opens up the possibility that our pet theory might not have been completely crackpot:
We sought to evaluate whether residence at high altitude is associated with the development of obesity among those at increased risk of becoming obese. Obesity, a leading global health priority, is often refractory to care [resistant to treatment]. A potentially novel intervention is hypoxia [low oxygen environment], which has demonstrated positive long-term metabolic effects in rats.
In conclusion, high altitude residence predicts lower rates of new obesity diagnoses among overweight service members in the U.S. Army and Air Force. Future studies should assign exposure using randomization, clarify the mechanism(s) of this relationship, and assess the net balance of harms and benefits of high altitude on obesity prevention.
We thought low oxygen would improve lung performance, but this study suggests it [also?] changes metabolic rate. Well, in rats. But most things we know about human microbiology start with rat studies. The studiers say they have no idea why living high, above 6500 feet, would affect one’s BMI (body mass index). But common sense should tell us that living where the winters are longer and colder and the summers are shorter and cooler forces the body to expend more calories on a daily basis to keep itself at 98.6. The change in metabolism could be nothing more than that.
The monkey wrench in all this is that body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph; also known as string bean, average, or fat slob) is genetic and not susceptible to environment. Whichever one of those you are is what you’re stuck with no matter where or how you live. Life is still not fair.
Original article here.