This body shape protects women from strokes and heart diseases

This body shape protects women from strokes and heart diseases

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The body shape of women has a significant impact on the risk of cardiovascular diseases

The shape of a woman's body seems to have a major impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease. The build-up of body fat varies even in women with a normal BMI. Researchers have now found that women with a so-called pear shape have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease or strokes after their menopause, whereas an apple shape is associated with a greatly increased risk.

The latest study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that women's body shape appears to have a significant impact on the risk of heart disease or stroke. The results of the study were published in the European Heart Journal.

Where is the fat stored?

Even if women have a normal BMI, fat can be deposited in different positions on the body and the fat storage can vary significantly. Apple-shaped women carry more fat around the waist of their bodies, while pear-shaped women store more fat around their hips and legs.

Just under 2,700 women were examined for the study

For their study, the researchers examined 2,683 postmenopausal women with a normal BMI. These women were medically monitored for an average of 18 years. Over time, 291 cases of cardiovascular disease have occurred. After taking various factors into account, it could be determined that neither the fat mass nor the body fat percentage itself was related to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but the body shape and where the fat was deposited had a major influence.

So the body shape affected

The quarter of women with the highest fat percentage around the waist had a 91 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease or stroke compared to the quarter of women with the lowest fat percentage around the waist. However, if the fat was stored in the legs, this was associated with a 32 percent reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. Women who had both a higher proportion of waist fat and a lower proportion of leg fat had more than three times the risk compared to women with opposite fat distribution.

Affect fat distribution through exercise?

Unfortunately, it is not yet known how fat can be shifted from the stomach to the legs. Exercise helps you lose weight, but there is no information about the type of exercise that could shift body fat, the authors of the study report. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Guo-Chong, Chen Rhonda Arthur, Neil M Iyengar, Victor Kamensky, Xiaonan Xue et al .: Association between regional body fat and cardiovascular disease risk among postmenopausal women with normal body mass index, in European Heart Journal (query: 01.07.2019) , European Heart Journal

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