Overweight US service members are 41 percent less likely to transition to clinical obesity when stationed at military facilities located at high altitude, according to a new study published today in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOS One.

The quasi-experimental, retrospective study assessed the health records and migration patterns of nearly 100,000 enlisted service members in the active component of the US Army and Air Force with at least two years in the services from records in the Defense Medical Surveillance System. The study period was January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2012. The service members also had no prior diagnosis of obesity between the time of enlistment until entry into the study.

High altitude duty stations were of interest because multiple experimental studies show hypoxia can decrease food consumption and cause weight loss.