By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You want to keep the pounds off – get more exposure to natural light. That is the word from a Northwestern University study. Twenty minutes of natural light in the morning is associated with leaner figures.

Researchers measured the light exposure of test subjects throughout the day with a wrist monitor. Exposure to bright light before noon was associated with lower body mass index even after controlling for other factors like diet, exercise and sleep.

The researchers say get outside even on cloudy days.

More research is needed before recommending natural light exposure as a helpful addition to weight-loss regimens. But in the case of getting outside and enjoying sunlight and fresh air, there are few arguments against it.

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