Friday, March 11, 2011

Apples and Pears, Fat Asses and Heart Attacks

OK, Lardos, there's a new study out there that'll interest you. It's apples vs. pears and you don't get to eat either, though maybe you should have one of each today. 

The study is a close look at visceral fat that surrounds surrounds the the organs in the abdominal area and the subcutaneous fat found under the skin. The former is defined in apple shaped people, the latter in pear shapes. Women know all about this stuff. Men tend not to pay that much attention. Maybe they should.

The British study from Cambridge University looked at 220,000 fat asses in 58 studies over a decade and found that "
having a higher waist-to-hip ratio was no better a predictor of heart disease and stroke risk than being generally overweight, as measured by body mass index."

Neither shape is healthy, but we're know from past studies that apples carry a risk of heart disease and pears tend toward osteoporosis, varicose veins and menopausal symptoms (the latter is mostly in women). Pear-shaped women and apple-shaped men have more risk for life threatening blood clots, according to the American Heart Association.

There is some contradiction, according to a study in Lancet, the British medical equivalent of JAMA. The study "found the risk of heart attack was not increased by fat being concentrated around the waist.

It contradicts previous work that found overweight people with 'apple shaped' bodies were three times as likely to suffer heart attacks than those with more generally distributed fat."

The British study notes that "around three-fifths of Type 2 diabetes [cases] and one-fifth of heart disease cases are attributable to excess body fat. Six cancers are also linked to obesity."

My guess is that the encouraging side here--and the one that doesn't contradict itself--is that celery-shaped men and women don't have much of any of those worries.

(Graphic from

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