Is it better to be an apple or a pear when it comes to body shape? Evidence suggests that having a large waist measurement (apple shape/fat around your middle) might be more closely related to poor health than having large thighs (pear shape) or fat all over the body. Further, several large research studies suggest that fatness around the middle impacts the risk of early death. Researchers examined different measures of waist fatness including waist circumference (distance around the waist), and how this compares to height and hip and thigh size, regardless of body mass index (BMI). They found that middle fatness was linked to a higher risk of early death. For each 10 cm increase in waist circumference, researchers found an 8% more risk of early death in men, and 12% more risk in women. In contrast, larger hip circumference and thigh circumference were associated with a lower risk. The results suggest that fat around the waist is an important target for intervention. The safest and most cost-effective interventions are healthier eating and more physical activity.
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