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People with skinny legs have higher risk of premature death and heart disease – Warn Experts

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

People with thin thighs appear to die earlier than those with tight legs. This is due to a higher risk of heart disease. Men and women whose thighs are less than 60cm in circumference have a higher risk of premature death and heart disease. 

This is what scientists at the University of Copenhagen found.

For the study published in BMJ, Berit Heitmann’s team evaluated the data of almost 3,000 Danish women and men whose body measurements were recorded in the late 1980s for a long-term study. 

In the following 12.5 years, more than 400 participants died, and another 540 developed heart or vascular diseases.

Protect muscles, not fat

After the scientists had ruled out typical risk factors such as obesity or high cholesterol levels, they found that the survivors without heart problems had significantly thicker thighs. 

The probability of death of the people with the thinnest legs (less than 55 centimeters in circumference) was three times as high as that of the test participants with a thigh circumference of 60 centimeters. 

However, the risk of men and women with even thicker legs has not decreased any further. And: The protective mass had to consist mainly of strong muscles, not body fat.

Thin thighs – weak heart muscle?

The authors conclude that the study “found that the risk of having small thighs was associated with development of cardiovascular morbidity and early mortality. This increased risk was found independent of abdominal and general obesity, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and lipids related to early cardio vascular morbidity and mortality”.

The authors believe that doctors could use thigh size as an early marker for at risk patients and suggest that individuals increase lower body exercise in order to increase the size of the their thighs if necessary. Further research would be needed, however, to assess whether this approach was worthwhile.

In another study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, scientists Norbert Stefan, Fritz Schick and Hans-Ulrich Haring, of University Hospital in Tubingen, reported that metabolically unhealthy lean people have a 300% greater chance of dying compared to healthy people in the same BMI bracket.

According to them, unusually thin legs, the researchers cautiously concluded, may indicate a gene-derived difficulty with storing fat in the lower limbs, and that this is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular poor health.

In a 2020 study, researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine investigated the association between thigh circumference and blood pressure in a population of 9,250 Chinese men and women aged 40 or older, of which 5,348 were overweight and obese, and 4,172 were normal weight.

A significant link between larger thigh circumference (more than 55cm in men and 54cm in women) and lower prevalence of high blood pressure was observed consistently in both men and women, independently of age, body mass index, and waist circumference. Whereas those with a small thigh circumference (less than 50cm for women and 51cm for men) were more likely to have elevated blood pressure.

“In contrast to stomach fat, leg fat may be beneficial for metabolism. The most likely cause of this association is that there is more thigh muscle and/or fat deposited under the skin which secretes various beneficial substances that help keep blood pressure in a relatively stable range.” Dr. Zhen Yang explained.

These findings suggest that carrying more weight on the thighs may be a marker of better heart health in obese and overweight people, who are at a greater risk of heart disease.

Image Credit: Getty

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