Do People Lose Most of Their Body Heat through the Head?

Popular belief is that people lose most of their body heat through their heads, but that is not the case. In fact, most people do not experience any great drop in body temperature because of heat loss through the head. Research indicates that any area of the body that is exposed will lose about the same amount of body heat as a head that is exposed in the same type of weather conditions.

More facts about body heat:

  • Although there is little difference in terms of the percentage of body heat that lost through various parts of the body, the head, neck and chest are more sensitive to any changes in temperature than other areas of the body.

  • One origin for the myth that body heat escapes mainly through the head has to do with experiments by the United States military during the 1950s. Participants in the experiments were dressed in heavy arctic suits as a means of testing the clothing for use in severely cold conditions. The head was uncovered, however, so a larger percentage of body heat was lost through the heads of the volunteers. As pointed out in more recent research, if the participants had been wearing swimsuits, the percentage of body heat that was lost through the head would have been similar to that which was lost through other parts of the body.

  • Although the head does not lose body heat any faster than the rest of the body, wearing a head covering in cold weather will help to limit any loss of heat, especially if the remainder of the body also is properly covered.

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