Are Higher Elevations Healthier?

Mountain states like Colorado and Utah have a tendency to draw health-conscious individuals and encourage lively life. However some research recommend that simply dwelling at excessive altitudes improves cardiovascular well being, because of the decrease oxygen degree of the “thinner” air.

Researchers have additionally linked dwelling at excessive elevations to decrease physique weight. In 2013, as an example, a research within the Worldwide Journal of Weight problems discovered that Individuals dwelling in counties above 5,000 ft are much less prone to be overweight than these dwelling under 1,600 ft, after adjusting for age, bodily exercise, food regimen, smoking, race, air temperature, and demographic elements. The upper the altitude, the decrease the weight problems charge. Comparable outcomes have been seen in some research from Nepal, India, and Argentina, the researchers famous.

Regardless of the changes for varied obesity-related elements, correlations based mostly on such observational analysis don’t show that prime altitude improves weight management.

However a research printed in April 2014 within the on-line journal PLOS ONE strengthens the case by trying on the results over time. The research seemed on the information of 9,800 Military and Air Power personnel (overwhelmingly males, all chubby however not overweight) and tracked what occurred to their weight over six years after they had been assigned to bases at varied altitudes. These stationed at excessive altitudes (above 6,400 ft, corresponding to Colorado Springs and Cheyenne, Wyoming) had been 40 p.c much less prone to grow to be overweight than these at decrease altitudes (under three,200 ft). The research managed for preliminary weight, race, age, and sure different elements.

Why would variations in elevation affect physique weight? The researchers supplied some biologically believable explanations, based mostly on animal and human analysis. Brief-term research present that folks put in low-oxygen environments, as in high-altitude journey, are inclined to have diminished urge for food, partially as a result of greater altitudes might have an effect on hormones corresponding to leptin. They might additionally shed weight due to the elevated metabolic calls for (and thus extra calorie burning) of high-altitude exertion.

Even when future analysis confirms these findings, mass relocation to excessive altitudes is clearly not a sensible resolution to the weight problems epidemic. Furthermore, excessive altitude is related to sure well being dangers, notably for individuals with respiratory issues, corresponding to persistent obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD). For different individuals dwelling at excessive elevations, nevertheless, the potential well being advantages might make the view from up there look even higher.

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