Thin thighs - maybe not your heart's desire

Thu Sep 3, 2009 10:45pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People who have agonized over their fat thighs might be able to relax a bit -- Danish doctors said on Thursday they found patients with the thinnest thighs died sooner than the more endowed.

Obesity, age, smoking and other factors did not reduce the effect, the researchers reported in the British Medical Journal.

"Our results suggest that there might be an increased risk of premature death related to thigh size," Berit Heitmann of Copenhagen University Hospital and Peder Frederiksen of Glostrup University Hospital wrote.

The explanation may lie in many different studies that suggest where you gain your weight is a strong factor in how it affects health. People with lots of abdominal fat -- wrapped in and around the internal organs -- appear to be at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other ills.

So-called pear-shaped people may have lower risks, even if they have more body fat overall.

Heitmann and Frederiksen studied 1,436 men and 1,380 women taking part in a larger medical research study who were examined in 1987 and 1988, then watched them for more than 12 years.

Men and women whose thighs were less than 24 inches in circumference were more likely to die during those 12 years, they found.

Those with the thinnest thighs -- less than 18 inches -- were more than twice likely to have died within 12 years, they reported in the study, published here

Dozens of studies have shown waist size can also be a good predictor of heart disease and death.   Continued...