Know Your Heart Disease & Diabetes Risk – The #1 Sign You’ll Develop It (Weird But True)!

By on June 2, 2017
Are you a classic pear shape? If so, there’s at least one good reason why you should embrace this body type, say researchers.

According to a study by University of Oxford researchers, people who accumulated more fat around their thighs and buttocks, instead of their waist, faced a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, despite having higher-than-normal body fat. Apple shaped people, on the other hand, who gain weight in their abdomen, faced a higher incidence of both diseases.

The findings appear in the International Journal of Obesity.

“The idea that body fat distribution is important to health has been known for some time,” says Dr. Konstantinos Manolopoulous, study author and researcher for the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism. “However, it is only very recently that thigh fat and a larger hip circumference have been shown to promote health, that lower body fat is protective by itself. This protective effect is independent of weight.”

The Research

They explain in the paper that the body stores energy in fat tissues, which release when needed after energy expenditure. Fat around the thighs and abdomen both play a role in this process, but the ways in which they release it are slightly different.

For abdominal fat, energy (fatty acids) is released and absorbed by other organs, such as the liver, typically floating around in the body. However, when too much fat accumulates, this can harm the organs due to an excess of floating fat particles. It can also lead to hardening of the arteries and decreased pancreas function, leading to diabetes and heart disease.

Thigh fat, on the other hand, holds onto these fatty acids much longer. In turn, less fat floats around regardless of how much thigh fat has accumulated. As a result, their risk of diabetes and heart disease is low.

In addition to this, abdominal fat releases harmful hormones called pro-inflammatory cytokines, which also heighten the risk of disease. Thigh fat, on the other hand, releases leptin and adiponectin, which don’t contribute to these health problems.

This, over time, can help people stay free of disease, even if they’re overweight.

“Thigh fat might also secrete more beneficial hormones like leptin and adiponectin,” says Manolopoulos. “We don’t really know how the body decides where to store fat. At the moment we need to understand more about the mechanisms the body uses. Only then will we be able to take the next step and try to influence this.”

Unfortunately, as Manolopoulous notes, there isn’t any real way to manipulate the way you store fat. For the most part, that’s genetics at play–and you’re not in control.

Instead, researchers say this could serve as a diagnostic tool to determine a person’s potential risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you have excess belly fat, for instance, taking extra measures to reduce risk factors associated with both diseases could help. That includes eating a diet rich in phytochemicals and exercising regularly.

“It may be possible to use these findings in the future to reduce people’s health risks but that is a long way off,” says Manolopoulous.

Readers: So how do you measure up? Are you pear or apple shaped? Let us know in the comment section below!

Being Pear Shaped Protects Against Heart

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