KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — The risk of stroke or heart disease was found to be highest for women with more belly fat and less hip and thigh fat.
A study has argued that despite those participating in the sudy being technically of healthy weight, it was found that the distribution of fat mattered when considering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Basically those who were “apple-shaped” should try to lose more belly fat and become “pear-shaped”.
For 18 years, researchers followed a cohort of 2,600 women who were a healthy weight, defined as those with a body mass index (BMI) of between 18 and 25.
The Women’s Health Initiative began in the 1990s, and had regular checkups to check muscle, bone density and fat.
The study’s findings implies that carrying more fat on the legs compared with the stomach protects postmenopausal women from heart disease.
Those with more fat distributed around the abdominen, had three times more risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with more fat around the hips and thighs.
The reason leg fat might be protective is not well understood.
Prof Qibin Qi of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the US, who led this study, said to the BBC, “Our study participants were all women with normal weight. So this message is very important: even for women with a healthy body weight, ‘apple shape’ or ‘pear shape’ still matters.”
He also said that previous research tended to focus on those who were overweight or obese.