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Monday 24th October 2016

Fat thighs may be healthy

4th September 2009

People with thin thighs die sooner than people whose thighs are fat, according to new Danish research.


The researchers said that the results of their study held true regardless of the presence of other factors, includng smoking, age, and obesity.

Berit Heitmann of Copenhagen University Hospital and Peder Frederiksen of Glostrup University Hospital said that their team's results suggest that there might be an increased risk of premature death related to thigh size, so that even if people with fat thighs have more overall body fat, they may have lower risks affecting the age at which they die.

The finding suggests that where people gain their weight appears to have as much of an effect upon their overall health as how much they gain, and that skinnier is not always better.

For the purposes of their study, Heitmann and Frederiksen studied 1,436 men and 1,380 women.

After initial examinations in 1987 and 1988, subjects were followed up for roughly 12 years.

At the end of the study, researchers found that people of both sexes were more likely to have already died if their thighs measured less than 24 inches.

In addition, the people with the thinnest thighs (less than 18 inches around) were more than twice as likely to have died than those with thighs over 24 inches.

The Danish study may sound similar to the dozens of studies that have attempted to correlate waist size with people's likelihood of heart disease or death.

For a woman, 35 inches is the cutoff point for a much higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and death, while for a man the cutoff point is 40 inches.

Although it is not clear why, researchers are beginning to find that non-abdominal fat may be better for the body.

Ian Scott of Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia felt the study lacked rigour, however. He said that it seemed unlikely that thigh circumference would be clinically useful.

However, Tim Olds, health sciences professor at the University of South Australia, saw some value in the study.

He said that the study was in a very interesting line of research, because it suggested that exercise routines such as weight training, which protect or increase muscle mass, may be effective in reducing cardiovascular disease even if no loss of body fat occurred.


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