Danielle McCarthy

Caring

Your body shape can impact your diabetes risk

Your body shape can impact your diabetes risk

For years, people have been obsessed with categorising their body shape into one of several “types”, including hourglass, pear, apple and rectangle. From body shape-based diets to finding the right outfits to match your proportions, there are many convincing reasons for working out your body type, and it seems there’s a new one – your health.

According to a new study of almost half a million participants published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “apples” (that is, those who are rounder in the middle and carry most of their weight above the waist) have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Body Shapes

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Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US looked at a number of gene variants in “apple” body shapes which were responsible for the deposit of body fat around the abdomen, rather than the hips and thighs. They found that those who carried most of their weight around the middle – thus surrounding their vital organs – had a significantly greater instance of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.

The findings come as experts issue a renewed push to overhaul the BMI system currently used as an indicator of healthy weight. “Waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI might prove useful as a biomarker for the development of therapies to prevent type 2 diabetes and CHD (coronary heart disease),” said one of the study’s authors, Dr Sekar Kathiresan.

However, it’s not all bad news. This new evidence could lead to possible treatments in the future. “Not only do these results allow us to use body shape as a marker for increased cardiometabolic risk, they also suggest that developing drugs that modify fat distribution may help prevent these diseases,” lead author Dr Connor Emdin said. “Future research also could identify individual genes that could be targeted to improve body fat distribution to reduce these risks.”

What body shape are you? What do you think about these new findings? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.