Public release date: 3-Sep-2009
Contact: Emma Dickinson
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Large thighs protect against heart disease and early death
Men and women whose thighs are less than 60 cm [23.6 in] in circumference have a higher risk of premature death and heart disease, according to research published on bmj.com today
Men and women whose thighs are less than 60cm in circumference have a higher risk of premature death and heart disease, according to research published on bmj.com today. The study also concluded that individuals whose thighs are wider than 60cm have no added protective effect.
Lead author, Professor Berit Heitmann, based at Copenhagen University Hospital, says his research may help GPs identify patients who are at an increased risk of early death and developing heart disease.
The relationship between thigh size and early death and disease was found after taking body fat and other high risk factors (such as smoking and high cholesterol) into account. The authors therefore suggest that the risk from narrow thighs could be associated with too little muscle mass in the region. This is problematic because it may lead to low insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes and, in the long run, heart disease, they explain.
The authors conclude that the study "found that the risk of having small thighs was associated with development of cardiovascular morbidity and early mortality. This increased risk was found independent of abdominal and general obesity, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and lipids related to early cardio vascular morbidity and mortality".
While several studies have already demonstrated that being either very overweight or underweight are related to premature death and disease, this is the first to investigate the implications of thigh size on health.