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Large thighs give a leg up on life

Shari Roan Los Angeles Times

We know having a large waistline is unhealthy. But larger thighs, it appears, may protect against heart disease and premature death.

A study published on BMJ.com (the British Medical Journal’s site) found that men and women whose thighs are less than 60 centimeters – 23.6 inches – have a higher risk of premature death and heart disease compared with those with thighs exceeding 60 centimeters. Having thighs that are even bigger than 60 centimeters, however, confers no added benefit. The study is the first to suggest that thigh size matters.

The measurement was of subjects’ right thighs. It was taken as high up on the leg as possible.

The researchers, from Copenhagen University Hospital, examined almost 3,000 people who were followed more than 12 years. The relationship between thigh size, heart disease and early death was found even after the scientists controlled for other factors, such as body fat, smoking and cholesterol levels.

So why are slender thighs worse? The authors suggest that small thighs could mean there is too little muscle mass in the region. The presence of muscle tissue influences insulin resistance and other cardiovascular risks.

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