The Virtues of High Altitude

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Competitive endurance athletes have long taken to higher ground to get an edge. New research shows that living at an elevation might be more suitable for your average joe. A study published in the ‘International Journal of Obesity’ found that obesity rates dropped at higher altitudes – even when accounting for smoking, temperature, diet, and physical activity. “Our findings were surprising because of the magnitude: There was a four- to fivefold increase in obesity at low altitude as compared with the highest altitude,” lead author Dr. Jameson Voss wrote in Obesity Panacea. The reason, Voss speculates, could be in part because low-oxygen environments require one’s metabolism to rise. Whether the same results can be achieved in a hypobaric chamber has yet to be determined.

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