Most women consider being slim is healthy, indicating an attractive body. However, a new study reveals that a woman with slimmer hips is at an increased risk of diabetes and heart attack. The research shows that putting on weight around the hips is safer than that accumulate around the belly or other major organs such as the liver or pancreas.
According to the study findings, some women are genetically less able to store fat at the hips, which puts them at risk of Type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Also, putting on fat is more likely to circulate in the blood.
‘This means that individuals with this genetic make-up preferentially store their excess fat in the liver, muscles or pancreas, or their blood in the form of circulating fats and sugar, any of which can lead to higher disease risk,’ says Luca Lotta, lead researcher from the University of Cambridge. ‘It may seem counter-intuitive to think that some people with less fat around their hips are at higher risk of diabetes or heart disease,’ Lotta adds.
Researchers studied the genetic profiles of over 600,000 women. They identified over 200 genetic variants that incline people to a higher waist-to-hip ratio, a measure of the ‘apple-shaped’ body. The researchers identified two specific groups of genetic variants, which increased waist-to-hip ratio — one via lower hip fat and the other through higher waist (abdominal) fat.
The findings, published in Jama, the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that both of the genetic variants identified were associated with higher risk of Type-2 diabetes and heart attacks. The results may help better identify individuals at risk of developing these conditions and inform their subsequent treatment.