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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2009, Article ID 165013, 11 pages
Research Article

Experienced Poor Lighting Contributes to the Seasonal Fluctuations in Weight and Appetite That Relate to the Metabolic Syndrome

National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271 Helsinki, Finland

Received 6 March 2009; Accepted 6 May 2009

Academic Editor: Ulrich Laaser

Copyright © 2009 Sharon Grimaldi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We tested which environmental, social, lifestyle, and health related factors of the individual contribute to the seasonal variations in mood and behavior and whether these influence the risks of the metabolic syndrome and major depressive disorder, both conditions having a high prevalence in industrialized populations. 5480 individuals, representative of the general population aged 30 and over in Finland, were assessed for metabolic syndrome using the ATP-III criteria, gave a self-report of seasonal variations in mood and behavior, and were interviewed for mood, anxiety, and alcohol use disorders using the DSM-IV criteria. The seasonal variations in mood and behavior have a metabolic factor composed of weight and appetite, and greater loadings on this factor increased the risk of metabolic syndrome (odds ratio of 1.18, 95% confidence interval of 1.10 to 1.26). Self-reports of lighting experienced as poor at home contributed to scores on the metabolic factor ( ). Lighting conditions and their dynamics may serve as a measure for intervention in order to influence the seasonal metabolic signals and in the end to prevent the metabolic syndrome.