Your Health

Baby Got Back, And A Healthier Heart

Rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot didn't know how right he had it when he voiced his love for, um, robust derrieres back in 1992.

A round rear is healthier than a fat gut.

A round rear is healthier than a fat gut. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com

It appears that "increased gluteofemoral fat mass"—science speak for "big butt and thighs"—may be healthy, concludes a review of the scientific literature just published by the International Journal of Obesity.

The analysis by a team from Oxford University concluded that unlike people prone to belly-fat weight gain, those who tend to pad out around their bottoms are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. They also pointed to recent findings suggesting that fat in the butt and thighs is more efficient at trapping and storing excess fatty-acids over the long haul, thus reducing weight gain elsewhere in the body.

Dr. Konstantinos Manolopolous, the lead author, acknowledged in a statement that analyses of differential fat distribution are nothing new and that the connection between belly fat and cardiovascular risk, for one, has been established. But, he noted that "it is only very recently that thigh fat and a larger hip circumference have been shown to promote health."

Still, Manolopoulos was quick to point out that this work shouldn't be read as a free pass to pack on the pounds. "If you put on weight, thigh circumference will increase but your waist circumference will also increase, which overrides the protective effect," he said.

But what does this mean for those of us not built like, say, Beyonce, you might ask. In an email to Shots, Manolopoulos elaborated:

Ideally you should store ALL your fat in your thighs while maintaining a very flat stomach. In that way you would receive the maximum benefit. However, few people can choose where to store their fat. Therefore, for the average person the current advice with regards to body fat and health risks remains the same: Do not become overweight, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

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