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Scientists bust body-shape myth that pear-shaped bodies are healthier than apple-shaped bodies

Research conducted at UC Davis Health System and published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has found evidence that the so-called 'protective' benefits of having a pear-shaped body (bodies that carry more weight around bottom, hips, thighs) are little more than myth.

While apple-shaped bodies (those who characteristically carry weight around their middle) have long been associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, this latest study suggests pear-shaped bodies are at just as much risk.

If found that fat stored in the bottom (known as gluteal adipose tissue) is not as healthy as first thought because it secretes a protein that can lead to problems such as inflammation and insulin resistance in individuals with early metabolic syndrome. These conditions are also early risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Until now, gluteal fat was thought to guard against diabetic conditions and heart disease and those with apple-shapes were considered most at-risk of these conditions.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that occur together, doubling the risk for heart disease and and more than quadrupling the risk for diabetes.

Risk factors include having a large waistline (usually associated with apple-shaped bodies), low levels of 'good' cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and high triglyceride levels.

Ishwarlal Jialal, lead author of the study and a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and of internal medicine at UC Davis said that while fat in the stomach had long been considered the most detrimental to health, "...our research helps to dispel the myth that gluteal fat is 'innocent.' It also suggests that abnormal protein levels may be an early indicator to identify those at risk for developing metabolic syndrome."

Despite the findings, Jialal offers hope: "The good news is that with weight loss, you can reduce chemerin levels [a protein secreted by gluteal fat] along with the risk for metabolic syndrome."

Check out this step-by-step 15 minute lower-body workout