Tags: abdominal | fat | heart

Are Pear-Shaped Bodies More Healthy?

Tuesday, 15 Jan 2013 10:39 AM


New medical research is challenging the long-held belief that people with “apple-shaped” bodies — and more abdominal fat — are more at risk for heart disease and diabetes than "pear-shaped" individuals who carry weight in the buttocks, hips, and thighs.
Scientists with the University of California-Davis Health System have found the protective benefits of having a pear-body shape are little more than a myth.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that in fact fat stored in the buttock area — also known as gluteal adipose tissue — secretes abnormal levels of two proteins that can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance in individuals with early metabolic syndrome.
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"Fat in the abdomen has long been considered the most detrimental to health, and gluteal fat was thought to protect against diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome," said lead researcher Ishwarlal Jialal, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and of internal medicine at UC Davis. "But our research helps to dispel the myth that gluteal fat is 'innocent.' It also suggests that abnormal protein levels may be an early indicator to identify those at risk for developing metabolic syndrome."
Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of factors that double the risk for heart disease and increase the risk for diabetes at least five-fold. They include having a large waistline, low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) "good" cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased fasting blood sugar (insulin resistance), and elevated triglyceride levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, metabolic syndrome affects 35 percent of American adults over age 20.
For the study, Jialal and colleagues examined 45 patients with early metabolic syndrome and compared them to 30 other healthy individuals. They checked cholesterol and blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and and C-reactive protein levels. Levels of four proteins secreted by fat tissue — chemerin, resistin, visfatin, and omentin-1 — were also measured in plasma and in subcutaneous fat samples from gluteal tissue.
The results showed that in individuals with early metabolic syndrome, gluteal fat secreted abnormal levels of two proteins — chemerin and omentin-1 — tied to other factors known to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes (including high blood pressure, elevated levels of C-reactive protein and triglycerides, insulin resistance, and low levels of HDL cholesterol).
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"High chemerin levels correlated with four of the five characteristics of metabolic syndrome and may be a promising biomarker for metabolic syndrome," said Jialal. "As it's also an indicator of inflammation and insulin resistance, it could also emerge as part of a biomarker panel to define high-risk obesity states."
The study funded by a grant from the American Diabetes Association.




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New research is challenging the belief that people with 'apple-shaped' bodies face greater health risks.
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2013-39-15
Tuesday, 15 Jan 2013 10:39 AM
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