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Bigger Thighs Could Mean Better Health

Measuring health

For years people have worked on their thighs making them smaller, firmer, and tighter however, a team of Dutch researchers have recently discovered through a study that bigger thighs could mean better health.

In a study released Thursday, men and women whose thighs measured less than about 24 inches in circumference were found to have an increased risk for both heart disease and death, Dr. Berit Heitmann of Copenhagen University Hospital and colleagues reported online in the British Medical Journal suggesting that bigger thighs could mean better health.

Researchers took thorough measurements and appraised the body composition of 1,436 men and 1,380 women in Denmark. They then followed their health for more than a decade as part of a study carried out on behalf of the World Health Organization. In conclusion they determined that bigger thighs could mean better health.

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“The adverse effects of small thighs might be related to too little muscle mass,” which can affect fat and sugar metabolism, said researchers led by Berit Heitmann, director of research at Copenhagen University Hospital’s Institute of Preventive Medicine. “General practitioners could use thigh circumference as an early marker to identify patients at later risk of cardiovascular disease and early mortality.”

A number of studies have linked cardiovascular risk to obesity, measured by either body-mass index or waist circumference. "This is the first time that someone has related thigh size to pathology," said study author Berit L. Heitmann, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at the university's Institute for Dietary Studies.

At this point in time the reason for bigger thighs meaning better health isn’t quite clear. It’s possible that those with smaller limbs do not have the muscle mass and lower body volume needed for good glucose and lipid metabolism, which are key factors for more serious disease, Heitmann said.

In the meantime, American Heart Association advice aiming for a healthy BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9, they believe to still be practical tool to gauge body fat. It was further suggested that this does not mean stop going to the gym and reduce exercise. It simply means that the research is suggesting bigger thighs could mean better health.

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