Large legs may protect the heart
Men and women with thighs over 60cm (23.6in) in circumference have a lower risk of heart disease and early death, a study of 3,000 people suggests.
The relationship remains even when body fat, smoking and blood cholesterol are taken into account, a Danish team says.
Those with narrow thighs may not have enough muscle mass to deal with insulin properly, raising the risk of diabetes and, in turn, heart disease, they say. But experts cautioned that the research needed corroborating.
The thigh measurement was taken just below the gluteal fold, which is the crease caused by your buttocks. The team at the Copenhagen University Hospital found that those with the smallest thighs – below 55cm – had twice the risk of early death or serious health problems.
Professor Berit Heitmann, who led the research, said: ‘The increased risk was independent of abdominal and general obesity and lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure.’
British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Judy O’Sullivan said: ‘There is insufficient evidence to confirm that a low thigh circumference affects a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
‘However, low muscle mass is associated with low levels of physical activity which is an established risk factor for developing heart disease.’