Most women generally fall into two classifications for body shape: the Apple shape, or the Pear shape. These body shapes have implications for both health. These classifications are useful in determining body fat distribution. It is generally thought that there are more health risks for the apple shape. This can be determined by measuring your waist to hip ratio. A ratio of 0.8 or above indicates that you are an apple shape. A ratio of under 0.8 means you are a pear shape.
The apple shape has more body fat deposited in the abdominal region. Women will generally have narrow hips, larger upper body, and a relatively large waist. Apple-shaped women have more fat surrounding their internal organs. This kind of fat presents many more risks as it decreases insulin sensitivity, raises blood pressure, and decreases levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. These are all key indicators of heart disease risk and diabetes risk. The higher the waist to hip ratio, the higher the cardiovascular risk.
The pear shape has more fat around the hips, thighs, and buttocks. Women will generally have a smaller upper body and a heavier lower body. A women with a pear shaped body will generally see more cellulite and varicose veins. It has been suggested that for women that have an apple shape, a lower carb diet will be effective and for the pear shape, a low fat diet. This however has not been tested but it would not be a bad idea to start out low carb and low fat regardless of the shape you have.