Our aim was to compare peri-operative core temperatures and the incidence of hypothermia in obese and non-obese women with active forced-air warming. Twenty female patients scheduled for abdominal surgery were allocated to two groups according to body mass index. Ten obese (30.0–34.9 kg.m−2) and 10 non-obese (18.5–24.9 kg.m−2) women received forced-air warming on their lower limbs. At the end of surgery, the mean (SD) core temperatures were 36.7 (0.5) °C in the obese group and 36.0 (0.6) °C in the non-obese group (p < 0.001). Only in the non-obese group was there a significant decrease in the intra-operative core temperature values (p < 0.001). The incidences of intra-operative hypothermia were lower in the obese group (10%) compared with non-obese group (60%; p = 0.019). In the postoperative recovery phase, the mean (SD) core temperature data were higher in the obese group than in the non-obese group (36.2 (0.4) vs 35.6 (0.5) °C, respectively (p < 0.001)). In conclusion, obese female patients have higher peri-operative core temperature and a lower incidence of hypothermia compared with non-obese female patients during abdominal surgery with active forced-air warming.