Big bottom and thighs could shape up to longer life
Jennifer Lopez, left, and Beyonce, are both known for their large behinds
Having a big bottom and thighs could shape up to a longer life, claim researchers.
Previous studies have found too much abdominal fat seems to heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes – while piling on the pounds around the backside and top of the legs lowers it.
So Dr Michael Jensen and colleagues overfed 28 men and women for eight weeks to see how fat grew in their bodies.
They measured body fat before and after and found on average participants put on 5.5lb of upper-body fat and 3.3lbs of lower body fat.
But there was a striking difference in that fat cells around the stomach and heart grew in size but not number by producing more fat-synthesising proteins.
The reverse was true for thigh fat cells, which increased in number – but did not get bigger.
Dr Jensen, of the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, said the findings challenge the concept that the number of fat cells in the body remains stable in adults. They also support the idea that increased capacity to produce lower-body fat cells creates some form of protection to the upper body and potentially helps prevent disease.
Dr Jensen, whose study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: ‘The cellular mechanisms are different. So, different mechanism, different impact.’
The latest findings could help to explain the benefits of having a pear- shaped body. They tie in with studies showing the ratio of a person’s waist to their hips is a better predictor of heart disease than BMI, the GPs’ rule of thumb for healthy weight.
In future, drugs that alter the way fat is stored around the body could be used to combat heart and other diseases.
Last year a Danish study of 3,000 people showed men and women with thighs more than 23.6 inches in circumference have a lower risk of heart disease.
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