This article was updated on September 6th, 2021.
“Thick thighs, save lives” isn’t just an empowering, body-positive, feminist-driven affirmation after all. This is the best news that my drawer chock full of quarantine snacks and I have heard all week.
A study in the BMJ written about in The New York Post reveals that women with thicker thighs and larger hips live longer than their skinny-jean clad counterparts.
The case study
Ahmad Jayedi, a doctoral student of nutrition, Sepideh Soltani, research fellow, Mahdieh Sadat Zargar, a masters student of nursing, Tauseef Ahmad Khan, postdoctoral fellow and Sakineh Shab-Bidar, associate professor of nutrition released this case study in August detailing the benefits of thicker thighs to overall better mortality rates compared to those folks with more belly fat. This is what researchers found to be true after the study,
“The validity of body mass index as an appropriate indicator of obesity has been questioned,” research fellow Soltani continues, “Research suggests that body mass index does not differentiate between lean body mass and fat mass; therefore, when using body mass index as a measure, inaccurate assessment of adiposity could occur.”
What is adiposity?
“Generally, excess fat in the abdomen is classified as visceral adiposity (abdominal fat depots around organs), subcutaneous adiposity (abdominal fat depots underneath skin), and ectopic fat (fat depots in locations not associated with accumulation of adipose tissue” You can find out more about what adiposity entails as it pertains to obesity and chronic illnesses here.
The aforementioned researchers go into more detail on the conclusions drawn from this particular study, “Additionally, the most important limitation of body mass index is that it does not reflect regional body fat distribution. Existing evidence suggests that central obesity and abdominal deposition of fat is more strongly associated with cardiometabolic risk factors and chronic disease risk than overall obesity. Furthermore, most studies, especially large-scale cohort studies, that have assessed the association of body mass index with the risk of mortality have used self-report height and weight to calculate body mass index.”
Participants tend to underreport their weight and overreport their height, which could result in an inaccurate assessment of adiposity. In contrast, most studies assessing the association of central fatness with the risk of chronic disease used measured anthropometry.
“Taking this evidence into account, indices of central obesity might be more accurate than body mass index when estimating adiposity, and therefore could be more closely and strongly associated with the risk of mortality.”
Your BMI is no longer the only indicator of healthy body fat and weight ratios
Put that scale away and look up some high-intensity interval training bun and thigh friendly workouts mixed with intermittent fasting perhaps? This study claims a higher waist and thigh circumference reduces your risk of dying from obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
“Hip and thigh circumference was found to be associated with a lower risk of all cause mortality,” according to research.
Let’s take a look at the statistics
These statistics are based on the results of 72 studies taken from a sample size of 2.5 million-plus participants from a span of 2 to 24 years. That’s a lot of data to work with and we can check out the numbers here next,
The summary hazard ratios were as follows:
- Waist circumference (10 cm, 3.94 inch increase): 1.11 (95% confidence interval 1.08 to 1.13, I2=88%, n=50)
- Hip circumference (10 cm, 3.94 inch increase): 0.90 (0.81 to 0.99, I2=95%, n=9)
- Thigh circumference (5 cm, 1.97 inch increase): 0.82 (0.75 to 0.89, I2=54%, n=3)
- Waist-to-hip ratio (0.1 unit increase): 1.20 (1.15 to 1.25, I2=90%, n=31)
- Waist-to-height ratio (0.1 unit increase): 1.24 (1.12 to 1.36, I2=94%, n=11)
- Waist-to-thigh ratio (0.1 unit increase): 1.21 (1.03 to 1.39, I2=97%, n=2)
- Body adiposity index (10% increase): 1.17 (1.00 to 1.33, I2=75%, n=4)
- A body shape index (0.005 unit increase): 1.15 (1.10 to 1.20, I2=87%, n=9)
This breakdown informs us that for each 10 cm (3.94-inches) added to waist circumference those folks had an eleven percent increased risk factor for premature death.
This information can be found in this case study outlined in the BMJ. You can also note from the statistics that bigger hip and thigh circumference is unrelated to higher mortality rates and other obesity-related illnesses. What a relief! You can now enjoy your cheat day in peace.