Climate could determine risk of heart disease

February 18, 2008 9:20:30 AM PST
Don't feel bad if you can't adjust to the cold of Chicago winters -- you may actually have an advantage over others who can tolerate frigid temperatures.

Researchers say the genetic changes that allowed people to adapt to colder climates may also increase the risk of heart disease. Scientists studied the genes of people from 54 different world populations. Those living in colder regions were more likely to have genes linked to obesity and high blood sugar. Extra fat protects against chilly temperatures. And blood sugar provides energy. But they can also lead to diabetes and other heart risk factors.