Body Shape & Heart Disease


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Women whose bodies are “apple-shaped” (more fat around the waist) appear to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than “pear-shaped” women (fat is around the hips and thighs). This finding comes from a study that followed 2,683 postmenopausal, normal weight women for an average of 18 years. The researchers reported that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease was tripled among women whose fat was mostly around their waists and had little fat in their thighs, compared with women whose fat was highest in their thighs and hips and low in the waist area. Pear-shaped women – those whose fat was mostly in their thighs – had a 32 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared with women with the least thigh fat. The researchers, from New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine reported that higher levels of abdominal fat were linked with elevated levels of insulin, systemic inflammation and abnormal cholesterol levels. The opposite was true for pear–shaped women.  

Source:
Quibin Qi et al, “Association between regional body fat and cardiovascular disease risk among postmenopausal women with normal body mass index,” European Heart Journal, June 30, 2019, https:/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz391 

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