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Turns out there's a scientific reason kids aren't cold when adults are freezing

Teens in shorts and hoodies while there's snow on the ground aren't as cold as parents think.

cold weather; brown fat; teens; weather tolerance; Vox
Photo by Darran Shen on Unsplash

Kids really aren't that cold in the winter and science proves it.

The argument to wear warm clothes when temperatures dip is a rite of passage in parenting. It never fails—you're either locked in a heated debate with a tiny human who just learned to speak a year ago or rolling your eyes as your teenager leaves the house in shorts when it's 30 degrees outside. Reasoning with your child to put on proper pants for the weather simply evolves as they get older.

Seemingly, once kids reach a certain age, parents stop trying to convince them that coats, hats and gloves are designed to be more than closet ornaments. But it turns out that kids might be on to something, or at least know their temperature comfort levels better than the adults around them. Recently, Vox explored why children seem to be unfazed by weather that sends most adults back inside the house to grab a wool hat and a winter coat.


This weird biological wizardry isn't reserved for children, though. Adults have moments when they experience the same phenomenon. In the video, the host demonstrates how a 55-degree day at the beginning of fall feels like jacket conditions, while 55 degrees in the winter feels like t-shirt weather.

It turns out that our bodies have two different types of fat. We have white fat, which burns constantly as the body's main energy source. Then there's brown fat, the fat that kids have more of and adults produce more of during the winter months. According to Dr. Aaron Cypess, brown fat cells are much smaller than white fat cells and are packed with mitochondria. Brown fat is strategically located in the body, overlapping major blood vessels, which warms the blood that is then pumped throughout the body.

Would you look at that! Our bodies work overtime to keep us warm without us knowing what's going on. But babies and kids have it better than adults because their bodies are filled with brown fat that peaks during the teen years and has a rave. (Ok, that's not exactly what they said. They did say that teens have a lot of brown fat, thus explaining why cargo shorts and a sweatshirt seem like acceptable winter attire.)

Watch the video below to learn more:

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