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Big Thighs? Keep Them - They Could Prevent Heart Disease

Posted Sep 04 2009 9:30am

Rejoice all you big-thighed lovelies out there – new research has suggested that those with thinner trunks are at a ‘higher-than-average’ risk of getting heart disease at an early age.

Scientists conducting the study revealed that people with a thigh circumference of less than 60cms had an increased chance of developing cardiovascular diseases or die early compared to those with heftier thighs.

However, before you hit that family sized chocolate bar, it was also reported that thighs did not have to be mega big to decrease risk – just as long as they were around the 60cm or just above mark.

This is the first investigation linking thigh size with protection against heart disease and the findings could result in a test being developed to measure thigh size as an indicator of the likeliness of heart disease occurring in later life.

Possible reasons behind the findings, said Professor Berit Heitmann of Copenhagen University Hospital who led the study, were that thinner thighs had less than average muscle mass in the area, which could contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The study, which analysed 1,436 men and 1,380 women over a period of 12.5 years, revealed that the size of a person’s thighs as an indicator of heart disease was separate from other established risks like smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“We found that having smaller thighs was associated with development of cardiovascular morbidity [illness] and early mortality…. General practitioners could use thigh circumference as an early marker to identify patients at later risk of cardiovascular disease and early mortality,” they say.

It was also advised that exercised concentrating on the legs and lower half of the body to bulk up thigh size could be significantly helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease. In addition, the scientists described the fact that 50 per cent of those in the study aged 35-60 had a thigh size of less that 60cm as being “worrying”

However, questions have been raised as to the legitimacy of the claim or whether the findings were just chance. Larger scale studies using more people is necessary to determine whether the link between thigh size and heart disease is genuine. “Is this association biologically plausible? It would seem logical that having bigger thighs would be a reflection of greater adiposity [fatness], and that this would increase the risk of heart disease,” the editorial says.

It is not the first study that has found a link between the two factors however, “Interestingly, other studies have shown that larger hip circumference, which might be a proxy for thigh circumference, significantly reduces the risk of incident diabetes and coronary heart disease,” the British Medical Journal editorial says.

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