Take charge of your health. Sign up for HealthyWomen newsletters:

Healthy Living

By Sheryl Kraft

Share on:

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

Comments

At least SOME fat is good for you!

Thanks for this little boost!

This is not good news for those of us with belly fat. Mine accumulates in winter. With age, I find it tougher to get rid of in spring.

I'm all pear and my mother and her mother and so on. Nice to know there are some benefits!

I knew someone would someday say good things about my pear-shaped body. Thanks you, Sheryl.

There are so many studies out there about weight and fitness and longevity. Thanks for pointing out this one and translating it. So, I guess I don't have to feel entirely guilty about having dessert every once in awhile?

So what if you have both? My upper body looks thin compared to anything from waist to knees. Then I am thin again. Hate it.

Huh, I didn't realize this, but it's a great point. Thanks, Sheryl!

I love the idea that some fat may be good for you. Very intriguing. Though, like lots of your readers, I tend to have the tummy kind as well...

Interesting info here. I like how you take the research and make it user friendly.

I love your blog, Sheryl! Another great post -- interesting and amusing.

pear...apple...orange...all i know is this stuff is easier to put on post-40 and harder to get off too...need to move to a hotter climate so i can do that natural, seasonal, weight adjustment thingie (a little extra for winter warmth, shed those pounds when the sun comes out:)

Add new comment