Quick, what’s the average human body temperature? Well, if you said 37 degrees Celsius, you are . . . wrong. It turns out that the average body temperature has dropped in the past hundred and fifty years, according to a new study.
“What everybody grew up learning, which is that our normal temperature is 37, is wrong,” said Julie Parsonnet, a Stanford University medical professor. She and her team looked at medical data from three different time periods: 1862 to 1930, 1971 to 1975, and 2007 to 2017. Comparing the data, they found that body temperatures had decreased by about 0.02°C per decade. So what’s the new normal? It’ s 36.6°C, says the study.
As for the cause, one possibility is that living in temperature-controlled buildings has changed our bodies. They don’t need to work as hard to maintain a normal temperature. Another is less inflammation in people’s bodies. Inflammation causes your body to use more energy, which increases body temperature. Advances in medical treatments and improved standards of living have led to less inflammation across the population compared to 200 years ago. Whatever the cause is, simply put, our bodies are changing.