Body shape and heart disease risk: Is apple or pear body shape more dangerous for women?


Body shape and heart disease risk: Is apple or pear body shape more dangerous for women? | Photo credit: Getty Images

New Delhi: The fact is, people of all shapes and sizes can be healthy and at risk for certain conditions. Yet, it seems that a person’s body shape can tell a lot about their health. Research suggests that body shape type is also an indicator of health risks in both men and women. The two main body types related to your health are apple and pear shaped bodies.

Basically, apple-shaped people have a larger waistline and carry a lot of weight around their midsection. As a rule, people with metabolic syndrome have this type of figure. People with pear-shaped bodies carry more weight around their hips and thighs and have narrower waists. Apple-shaped people are thought to have a higher risk of developing certain conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, than those with pear-shaped bodies.

Pear-Shaped Body vs Apple-Shaped Body: What Does Research Say About Your Heart Health?

According to a new study published in the European journal of the heart, postmenopausal women with pear-shaped bodies are healthier than those with apple-shaped bodies, and they are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Results from 2,683 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative in the United States showed that storing a greater proportion of body fat in the (pear-shaped) legs was linked to a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also found that women with apple-shaped bodies (who stored the most fat around their waists or trunks) had nearly double the risk of heart problems and strokes than those with the less fat stored around their waist.

On the contrary, women with the highest proportion of fat stored in their legs had a 40% lower risk of CVD than those who stored the least fat in their legs. The results indicated that women who had the highest percentage of fat around their midsection and the lowest percentage of fat in their legs had the highest risk of CVD.

Study authors said women who had “both high trunk fat and low leg fat had a more than three times greater risk” of CVD compared to women with low fat in the trunk and high fat in the legs.

“Our results suggest that postmenopausal women, despite their normal weight, may have variable risk of cardiovascular disease due to different fat distributions around their midsection or lower legs,” said Dr Qibin Qi, who works at the ‘Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the US.

Meanwhile, a Mayo Clinic study found that people with “normal, healthy” BMIs and thicker bodies (apple-shaped bodies) were 2.75 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those with a normal weight and a pear-shaped body. It is generally believed that having a pear-shaped body does not increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other complications of metabolic syndrome.

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