Danish researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital looked at data obtained from 1,436 men and 1,380 women. The body measurements of these participants were taken in Demark in the late 1980s. Over the next 12 years, more than 400 participants died and another 540 suffered either cardiovascular or heart disease, and the ratio of men to women was roughly 2 to 1.
The findings showed that survivors without any heart disease had significantly thicker thighs, after taking into account of other risk factors of heart disease. People with thigh size smaller than 60 cm had a much higher risk of premature death.
Nevertheless, 60 cm was the threshold. This means that larger (than 60 cm) thigh size did not seem to offer any additional benefit for either sex. In fact, those with the thinnest thighs (less than 18 inches around) were more than 3 times more likely to die compared with those with the 60-cm thighs, and more than twice as likely to have heart disease.
It is possible that, according to researchers, a lack of lower body muscle mass could affect a proper glucose and lipid metabolism, which in turn put the body at risk of developing disease. As such, they proposed further study to find out the reasons.
Meanwhile, suggestion by the researchers to use thigh size for assessing heart disease risks together with other measures like body mass index (BMI) and waist and hip circumference met objection from some health experts. The opposers doubted that the thigh size could be clinically useful.