Obesity is not the real concern for women, it is the distribution of fat, says a study. The research focussed on the link between regional body fat and the risk of chronic illnesses, including heart disease and stroke in older women.
The study stated that postmenopausal women with normal body mass index (BMI) and belly fat were at highest risk of developing chronic diseases than those who had fat on their legs.
For the research, a group of researchers observed more than 2,600 women with normal body weight for around 18 years. The participants were going through their postmenopausal period and their BMI were between 18 and 25.
All the participants were taking part in a major study conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), which was initiated by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). So, they had regular scans for checking their bone-density, muscle and fat.
During the study, the researcher found over 290 cases of cardiovascular disease. But they could not find any relationship between the risk of this illness and body fat or body mass.
The academics found that more than 90 percent of the participants who suffered from cardiovascular disease had more fat deposited in their belly than other parts of the body.
The researchers also found the participants who had the highest quarter of their body fat deposited in their legs had 32 percent reduced risk of developing any kind of chronic diseases.
The research was published in the European Heart Journal on Sunday. The study is one of a kind because most of the previous researches focussed on obesity or overweight, according to lead researcher Qibin Qi.
This is likely to be the first time a research paper is focusing on women with normal body weight and their risk of developing chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, the researcher, who is a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said.
“Our study participants were all women with normal weight. So this message is very important: even for women with a healthy body weight, ‘apple shape’ or ‘pear shape’ still matter,” Qibin Qi said.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know how to relocate fat from the belly to the legs. This is influenced by genetics. Exercise will help with weight loss, but we don’t know what kind of exercise would relocate body fat,” he added.