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Healthy Living

By Sheryl Kraft

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Is your shape more pear than apple?

If all the news that researchers constantly come out with makes you want to pull out your hair, punish yourself for some supposed misdeeds, re-do your entire diet or even your entire life,  here's some news that might make some of you very happy.

It's about FAT. Not the kind we eat, but the kind we...wear.

We all carry it somewhere. Mine? It tends to settle in around my middle; a tight waistband is (my) really accurate substitute for a scale

And health professionals have always said that belly fat equals dangerous fat, since it's more active, metabolically, and could pose a problem to your heart and even your lungs.  They point out that this type of fat increases blood pressure and cholesterol levels – and is also an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Even if your weight is in the normal range, they say, belly fat is a big health risk. You can look thin - but if you have a belly, well, don't let looks fool you.

But take heed (and heart), those of the bigger thigh-butt variety. Not only is this kind of fat (aka gluteofemoral) fat preferable to having a tire around your waist, but in a recent article in the Journal of Obesity, researchers say it could even be beneficial and protect you against diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related conditions.

How? By lowering the levels of immune-system cells that promote inflammation, a major factor implicated in many diseases (especially heart disease). If fat had a personality, gluteofermoral fat would fit more into the passive category.

The researchers also note that until women reach menopause, they're at a lower risk of heart disease than men – but then their risk climbs – maybe due to the falling levels of estrogen. (Sorry, ladies, didn't mean to burst your bubble with this sobering – but important – news.)

Getting back to the good news….I think if you have bemoaned your pear shape in the past, you have reason to be a bit easier on yourself now, don't you?

Of course, there will be those who disagree, but I say it's always good to keep this information in your; ahem, back pocket.

Read what WebMD has to say on this subject...http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20100114/fat-in-rear-is-good-for-you?ecd=wnl_wmh_011810

ABC News reports on this study: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/butt-thigh-fat-make-healthier/story?id=9534982