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Why kids don’t get as cold as adults do

It’s all about fat — but not the kind you’re probably thinking of.

Edward Vega joined the Vox video team as a video producer in 2021. His coverage focuses on all things cinema, from the intricacies of film history to the nuts and bolts of filmmaking.

55 degrees in the summer feels colder than 55 degrees in the winter. And 55 degrees as an adult likely feels colder than 55 degrees as a kid. But it’s not just a feeling. It all has to do with how our bodies use fat — specifically brown fat, a lesser-known type of fat that can produce roughly 300 times more heat than any other tissue in the body.

Brown fat isn’t the type that adds to our weight (that’s white fat). Brown fat has the sole purpose of being burned for heating the body, and it’s extremely effective at that. It only appears in specific parts of the body: around the neck, spine, heart, and kidneys (it clumps around major blood vessels), in order to warm the blood as it passes through the body.

But brown fat is temporary and can adapt to pressure in a similar way to muscles. Check out the latest Vox video to learn more!

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