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From the climax of the corsets during the Victorian era, to spanx and shoulder pads in the rush of the 80’s… body shapes are ever changing. But trends aside, body shapes actually reveal more about our health. In fact, the very measure of our waistline have shown to impact our health so much that it is considered an indicative factor for the future development of serious cardiometabolic health problems.
When considering different body shapes there are generally two main types; apple shapes, who tend to carry extra weight around the abdominal area, and pear shapes, with more weight around the hip area.
A recent study, from Edinburgh University, shows that different body shapes are controlled by a specific protein, which essentially determines the amount of unhealthy fats stored in our body. Interestingly, people with increased abdominal fat (apple shapes) have higher levels of this protein and therefore store more unhealthy fat compared to those with a pear shaped silhouette. In effect, this becomes problematic since the storage of the unhealthy fat carries a high risk of inflammation, which can damage local tissues & organs while also contributing to the development of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Who’s at risk?
According to the American Diabetes Association men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches (102cm) and women with a circumference above 35 inches (88cm) are considered to be at increased risk of the abovementioned health complications. Measuring our waistline is not only simple, but also a helpful tool for evaluating whether or not we are within a risky health zone.
The good news however, are that we, regardless of body shape, can prevent all these health complications by nourishing our body with healthy & nutritious whole foods, which makes reaching and maintaining a healthy weight easier! A healthy lifestyle is absolutely indispensable and one of the best preventative means against all the lifestyle disease that dominate our society. This is yet another reminder of how powerful good nutrition really is!