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Big Bum? Why It Is Better To Be Pear Shaped

Dec 14, 2007
Women's body shapes generally fall into two categories, those who are pear shaped and those who have an apple shaped physique. What's the difference? Pear shaped individuals carry their weight around the hips and thighs and are generally smaller on top with narrow shoulders, waist and bust.

Apple shapes are the opposite, being top heavy. Their weight is on top with muscular shoulders, a large bust and thick waist. They usually have narrower hips and thighs, with a flatter bottom. However it is the thick waist that has been linked to various health problems.

Pear shaped women are less likely to suffer from heart disease and high blood pressure than their apple shaped counterparts, who store fat around the abdomen. This is due to the fat stored around the middle releasing fatty acids into the blood stream much easier, than fat accumulated elsewhere in the body. It has also been suggested that fat stored around the hips can have an anti-inflammatory effect and therefore diminish the threat of heart disease.

Research has also suggested that it is healthier to have a pear shape and carrying weight on the hips. Women are meant to carry moderate excess weight for use in childbirth and lactating, so being unnaturally thin is not healthy either.

To test if you are in an at risk group, calculate your waist-to-hip ratio. Measure your waist around its narrowest part and then your hips around their widest part, then divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference and you get your ratio. Make sure that you measure with the tape measure next to your skin and not over your clothes so you get a precise measurement. Women that have a ratio of over 0.8 (1.0 for men) are apple shaped and therefore at an increased risk.

It has also been theorised that the waist to hip ratio is a better indication of body health than the Body Mass Index (BMI). Moreover, if this ratio were used to determine obesity, up to three times more people would be classed as obese.

Even if your BMI is within a healthy range you can still improve your health by taking action now. Obviously excessive drinking, smoking or an unhealthy diet are a bad idea whatever shape you are. However for an apple shape the best way to reduce your middle is with aerobic exercise. However it is not all bad news for the apple shaped, as fat stored around your middle is much quicker to respond to exercise than fat stored on the hips.
About the Author
Matthew Smith is an expert on diet and fitness. For advice on what clothes to wear if you are an apple or pear shape visit WhatSuitsYou.co.uk.
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