Central heating and double-glazed windows are making Britons fatter new research shows.

The recent study by University College London indicates that we’re now spending so much time in a heated environment that our bodies no longer have to burn off fat to warm ourselves up.

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The study’s lead author, Dr Fiona Johnson, said: “Increased time spent indoors, widespread access to central heating and air conditioning and increased expectations of thermal comfort all contribute to restricting the range of temperatures we experience in daily life.

“This reduces the time our bodies spend under mild thermal stress, meaning we’re burning less energy.”

“This could have an impact on energy balance and ultimately have an impact on body weight and obesity.”

The research was published in the journal Obesity Reviews, and the article directly links the reduced exposure of a seasonal cold environment to obesity.

When the human body gets cold it burns adipose tissue, which consists of 80 per cent fat, and uses the energy of the fat to create heat, the study said.

When the body is warm, however, there’s no need to produce this energy and burn off the fat.

The survey also suggested that the body could loose some of its ability to produce heat as result of being in a constant warm environment.

Co-author, Marcella Ucci , UCL Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, said: “The findings suggest that lower winter temperatures in buildings might contribute to tackling obesity as well reducing carbon emissions.”