Climate affecting life expectancy

I have always been curious if there is a relationship between climate and life expectancy. When I was younger what brought the thought upon me was that all my older relatives would move down to Florida right after they turned 70; I never really understood why so I just put the idea in my head that the warmer weather was better for the human body and would in the future help them live longer.

According to Josh Mitteldorf, in animals when exposed to cold temperatures their metabolism is slowed and they live longer. This sounds very interesting, the bodies of animals are very different than a human body so I can’t see this study or hypothesis holding up on any length for the human species. Another study preformed on a type of animal was done at the University of Michigan  with worms, exposing the worm to colder temperatures actually triggered a genetic change with in the worm which made them live longer. A recent study done at the University of California  proved that lowering the body temperature in mice extends their life up to “20%”.

Something that scientists may be looking passed in these studies are that humans life expectancy may have to do with something of a more industrialized topic such as wealth. In this article it talks about how neither cold or warm weather affect life expectancy and that other variables affect our lives way more.

Image result for weather around the world

Even though I just stood against the topic on whether climate has an affect on life expectancy I was not able to find a specific study done with humans. An experiment that could  conducted that could possibly bring an answer forward would be very complicated. The best way to be able to begin on figuring out if there is a correlation between climate and longevity would be to look at average ages of death in cold weather compared to warmer weather. A big factor in how long someone lives is there genes and relatives so the study would have to be done with a very large group of people in order to clearly make out results.

In conclusion, climate may have a clear affect on certain animals in which cold weather helps them live longer but for humans its not clear at all. Humans are way more complex organisms that adapt and grow with and around certain changes which makes it tough to be able to put a finger on the correct answers behind hypotheses and the many unanswered questions we have.


3 thoughts on “Climate affecting life expectancy

  1. Corbin Kennedy Miller

    Like the post and replies have stated, I believe that as humans, we introduce too many third variables to carry out a specific study to compare life expectancy of different climates. The largest confounding variable would definitely be the industrial stage and average GDP of certain regions compared to others. Even though they have very similar climates, Guatemala has a life expectancy roughly 4 years less than Mexico, due to a GDP (in millions of US dollars) almost a million more than Guatemala.

  2. Emily Fiacco Tuite

    I agree with you that humans are not animals because we have a much more complex makeup, making it hard to judge if we live longer because we are in a certain climate. There are many third variables also in play when it comes to whether we live longer because of the climate we are in. Like you mentioned our genes have something to do with longevity. Here is a blog post about climate and whether or not it has something to do with how long you live.

  3. Sarah Elizabeth Read

    Your post really caught my attention! I’ve lived in a number of different climates, but I’ve never thought about their effects on my own life expectancy. I can definitely see how there are benefits of living in warm climates and cold. But there is always the phrase that talks about how one good thing out of moderation can easily become a bad thing. I wonder if that applies to weather and climate and their impact on human health. I also wonder if climate change could have an impact on life expectancy, especially as it is a prevalent issue today. I wanted to look more into the potential benefits of cold climate on health so I found this article:

Leave a Reply