Men and women who have thinner thighs may be at an increased risk of early death, according to a new study released Thursday.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor Berit Heitmann, of Copenhagen University Hospital, found that people with thighs of a circumference smaller than 60cm, are at a higher risk of premature death compared to those with larger thighs.
“Our results suggest that there might be an increased risk of premature death related to thigh size,” Heitmann and Peder Frederiksen of Glostrup University Hospital wrote in the study.
Previous studies have shown an implied relationship between being very overweight or very underweight and premature death and disease.
Heitmann and Frederiksen studied 1463 men and 1380 women, all of whom were examined in 1987-1988 for height, weight, thigh, hip and waist circumference and overall body comparison.
Researchers followed participants for 10 years to study the incidence of heart disease and 12.5 years for total death count.
They noted that 257 men and 155 women died over the course of the study. Additionally, 263 men and 140 women experienced cardiovascular disease and 103 men and 34 women suffered from heart disease.
Researchers found that those who had survived from diseases had larger thigh circumferences.
They noted that those with thighs of less than 18 inches in circumference were more than twice as likely to die over the course of the study than those with much larger thighs.
“This is a very interesting line of research, because it would suggest that interventions which protect or increase muscle mass (such as weight training) may be effective in reducing cardiovascular disease even if no loss of body fat occurs,” said Tim Olds, a professor of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia.
On the Net: