Effects of environmental temperature on dietary obesity and growth in rats

Edward A. Rowe, Barbara J. Rolls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We have investigated how differences in environmental temperature interact with diet-content and palatability to affect body weight and energy intake. Adult male hooded Lister rats kept at 18°C or 25°C became obese after over-consumption of palatable, high energy foods. The difference in body weight between the obese rats kept at 18°C and their chow-fed control group was in part attributable to reductions in the growth of the controls kept at 18°C. The obese rats at 18°C had greater body weight gains relative to chow-fed controls than equivalent groups at 25°C. All groups at 18°C had greater energy intakes than equivalent groups at 25°C. Withdrawal of high energy foods led to greater weight loss in rats which had been eating a diet which was varied every day than in rats which had been eating three constantly available high energy foods. Weight losses after diet withdrawal were also greater in obese groups kept at 18°C than in those kept at 25°C. Carcass fat determinations demonstrated that the varied diet-withdrawn rats kept at 18°C did not have persistently elevated body fat stores, but the other diet-withdrawn groups were persistently obese. Therefore lower environmental temperature, and enhanced diet-palatability interact additively to increase energy intakes during cafeteria feeding, and to increase weight losses after withdrawal of palatable foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-226
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1982

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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