Cedars-Sinai Blog

Seeking a Smaller Waistline? Head for the Hills

A house in the hills may offer more than beautiful views. Research led by the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute suggests heading for the hills—and staying there—may result in a smaller waistline.

study published in the journal Obesity weighed data from 31,549 men in Peru. The incidence of obesity in those living at elevations of at least 9,843 feet was 50% less than those living below 1,640 feet. These men also had less abdominal obesity, which is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease.

(Worth noting: You'd have to venture well beyond Los Angeles' Beverly Crest or Pacific Palisades to find altitudes comparable to those in the study. In fact, in the US, only Colorado boasts these altitudes.)

The Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute searches high and low—literally, in this case—for the causes of obesity. The long-held prescription for obesity has been to simply eat less and move more. However, a growing amount of research is pointing to the problem being more complex than a simple matter of will power. Rather, complex interactions between the environment and genetics contribute to this health problem, which affects more than one-third of Americans. However, popular opinion has yet to catch up with science, according to a different study covered by the New York Times.

Cedars-Sinai experts continue to research in this area of medicine, including the mystery surrounding why higher altitudes correlate with lower body mass index. Discoveries magazine has more.