Human cold adaptation was studied by comparing maximal body insulation [I = (rectal temp. – skin temp.) /rate of skin heat loss] of Korean diving women to insulation of Korean nondiving men and women and American men and women. Appropriate measurements were made during immersion in a constant-temperature bath cool enough to induce maximal cutaneous vasoconstriction without shivering. Subcutaneous fat was estimated from measurements of skin-fold thickness. Within each racial group there is a significant regression of I on fat thickness. Koreans had a significantly greater I than Americans of comparable fat thickness. Korean diving women had the same I as nondivers of comparable fat thickness. Korean women had significantly greater I than Korean men due, we believe, to thicker subcutaneous fat. This may be the reason why women and not men engage in diving. The only evidence for cold adaptation among diving women was their ability to withstand colder water immersion without shivering.
Submitted on March 22, 1962
- Copyright © 1962 the American Physiological Society