Thin Thighs = More Risk Heart Disease



Sunday morning, reading The Age newspaper over my breakfast, and what do I see – but an article about a study done at the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark that suggests that people with thinner thighs are more likely to suffer from heart disease!

This study followed 3000 men and women over a 10 year period, to see what happened to their health. The researchers found that the risk rose as thigh size diminished. Apparently it’s to do with less muscle mass in the thighs might lead to low insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes.

Even after taking into account the participants weight, lifestyle, stomach measurements (which we’re all told is the most important factor for reducing our likelihood of heart disease), plus of course blood pressure and cholesterol, the risk for those with thighs smaller than the average 60cm/23.5″ circumference, the smaller the size, the greater the risk.

Interestingly, increasing muscle mass in the thighs with weight training (even without reducing body fat) lowers the risk for heart disease.

With 22″ thighs, I’m off to build them up (interestingly there is also a history of heart disease in my family, with my paternal grandmother dying at 55 from it).


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  • This sounds surprising. I have always felt that on this particular area of my thighs, I have a little too much stuff. When I was younger, it was a complex for me. Today, I have different worries. Thank you for the information.

  • Not that I've read the article, but I reckon it means "thin thighs compared to the size of the waist" – because it's a well known theory that apple-shaped women are more susceptible to heart disease.

  • Tiffany – see there is a silver lining to every cloud!

    Metscan – glad that you now appreciate your thighs.

    Jane – bright side to everything!

    Violet – interestingly the study said that it wasn't compared to waist size and that it was an unrelated measurement (so someone with a slim waist with slim thighs was at more risk than a wider waist and wider thighs.)

  • Yay!Being blessed with thighs that deserve their own postcode, I'm in absolutely no danger of heart disease. (despite my dad having had a triple bypass, and 3 close relatives dying of the disease). I'm going to have an extra slice of cake to celebrate!

  • I see your thighs and raise you. One day the full story on weight will review that some padding is good- especially as we age. Fat (not morbid obesity but more than the fashion mags show us) is necessary for brain health too.

  • Interesting. I have read this earlier. I have big thighs compared to the rest of me but they are under 23 inches. (though they got that big in the final months of pregnancy but I am sure that wasn't muscle!) I wonder if it is correlated for height as I am only 163cm tall.

  • Oh heck – my thighs are only 18 inches – I'm not sure any amount of weight training/muscle building is ever going to get them to 23 inches!

  • Haha to I see your thighs and raise you… According to this study, I'm dead already. It's a depressing thought. According to Duchesse, my brain is also suffering. Tat, mine are 19.5, but I'm five foot eight. I do a lot of work at the gym with heavy weights and they simply get more "defined" but never expand outwards.

  • My thighs are 19 inches – I am 5'0". When I weight train and run and I'm in the best shape, with highest muscle mass, my thighs will get down to 17 inches. No heart disease, low blood pressure, and excellent cholesterol. However, it is true that I am pre-diabetic. My waist/hip ratio never gets lower than 0.8.

  • Mmm, mine are 19.6". And I have weight trained for years. Never gonna get bigger except with fat. The article must have just skimmed the results. Surely a small person does not need amazon thighs to keep healthy. Muscle to fat ratio must have some some effect? But to be on the safe side I had better beef up on Champagne, chocolates and cappuccinos…

  • As I squished myself into my jeans this morning, I took comfort from the memory of reading this post last week. I am 5'1" and have burlesque queen boobs and thighs that are 24.5 inches. Yes, evolutionary biologists will figure out one day why I was "blessed" with those curves, but no height to pull it off. But for me, boy do I find it hard to find clothes that don't make me look short and dumpy. It looks like I won't be dying from heart disease, though!

  • Hmm, I've read this a couple of places but several places also correlated thigh circumference to waist/hip ratio. I thought that, if the waist and hips are too close together it increases heart disease risk, and many people as they age put on weight in the abdomen and lose weight in the legs, which seems to be related to the kind of fat they are storing. Which is why many older people have thick middles and thin legs. It might be something with how the body processes and stores fat.

    I think there are no simple answers with our bodies.

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