A new study published in PLOS ONE says overweight U.S. service members are 41 percent less likely to transition into obesity when stationed at high altitude.
Largely a response to recent studies that suggest hypoxia can decrease food consumption and cause weight loss, the six-year project monitored some 100,000 active U.S. Army and Air Force service members with no prior diagnosis of obesity since enlisting.
According to the study, research in cities across the United States suggests that low altitude contributes to new cases of obesity. The inverse may be true as well.
Boulder, Colorado, at an elevation of 5,430 feet, just topped the list of the thinnest cities in the United States, and low-altitude obesity rates within the military present an even stronger case.
"This is the strongest evidence to date that moving to high altitude provides long-term obesity protection," Captain Jameson Voss, the study's lead author, told ScienceDaily.