Women have been striving for the thigh gap for years, but those with thick thighs may have a longer life span. According to a new study by the BMJ medical journal, this is likely true.
People with thick thighs and hips have a lower mortality rate than those who carry extra weight in their bellies (1).
It’s No Longer About BMI
Obesity poses a significant health risk. It’s known by practitioners that using body mass index (BMI) to determine obesity risk may not be accurate.
This measurement, which takes into account only height and weight, does not show differences in body composition. Height and weight can also be under or overestimated by individuals. This can lead to skewed results.
To determine other risk factors for obesity, researchers have begun measuring specific areas of body fat accumulation.
This is done through waist circumference, hip circumference, thigh circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist-to-thigh ratio.
The Dangers of Abdominal Fat
Extra abdominal weight, known as central obesity, can increase the risk for various chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease. What makes central obesity so dangerous is the type of fat and the area it surrounds.
Excess abdominal fat is usually made up of visceral fat. This is a type of fat that is specific to our abdominal region. It wraps around our organs versus laying over the top of them. Because of this, it carries with it a strong metabolic risk (2, 3).
High levels of visceral fat can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Visceral fat can get deposited into our bloodstream. This increases incidences of elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
It also contributes to insulin resistance. Increased amounts of visceral fat are associated with a higher mortality rate. This makes it more dangerous compared to those who carry their extra weight in their lower half (3).
What Can You Do About It?
This study found that hip and thigh circumference was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.
We can’t change the way we carry our weight. Many of us are predisposed to carry extra weight in our midsection.
But that doesn’t mean we are doomed to an unhealthy life. Diet and lifestyle play a large role in fat accumulation. Keeping a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise routine can reduce your risk (1).