Fatter legs linked to reduce risk of high blood pressure

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Have you been blasting your thighs in an attempt to get the perfect set of ‘pins’ for summer? If you have fat legs, it turns out it might not be such a bad thing.

A new study has revealed that having fatter legs is linked to a lower risk of suffering from high blood pressure.

Researchers discovered that people who have a higher percentage of total body fat tissue in their legs were less likely to have high blood pressure than people with a lower percentage of body fat in their legs.

Principal investigator on the study Aayush Visaria explained to a virtual hypertension conference that it was not how much body fat you had, but where it was located that was important.

“Although we know confidently that fat around your waist is detrimental to health, the same cannot be said for leg fat,” he said.

“If you have fat around your legs, it is more than likely not a bad thing and may even be protecting you from hypertension, according to our findings.”

The study examined the rates of high blood pressure in nearly 6000 adults with an average age of 37, with around 24 per cent of the cohort suffering from high blood pressure.

Special X-ray scans measured fat tissue in the legs, and these measures were compared to overall body fat tissue.

Investigators classified participants as having either a high or low percentage of leg fat, with high fat defined as 34 per cent or more for males, and 39 per cent or more for females.

Participants with higher percentages of leg fat were less likely than those with lower levels of fat to have all three types of high blood pressure. 

Compared to those with lower percentages of leg fat, participants with higher percentages of leg fat were 61 per cent less likely to have the type of high blood pressure where both numbers are elevated.

In addition, risk for participants with higher leg fat was 53 per cent lower for diastolic high blood pressure (the second number in a blood pressure reading, measuring pressure between heart beats) and 39 per cent lower for systolic high blood pressure (the first number in a reading, measuring pressure when the heart beats).

“If these results are confirmed by larger, more robust studies, and in studies using easily accessible measurement methods like thigh circumference, there is the potential to affect patient care,” Mr Visaria said.

“Just as waist circumference is used to estimate abdominal fat, thigh circumference may be a useful tool.”

Do you suffer from high blood pressure? Is fat storage spread around on your body or located in one area?

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 16
  1. 0

    Well of course they wouldn’t look at the practical aspects such as thighs chafing and rubbing together, causing fungal infections stopping people from exercising and all sorts!

  2. 0


  3. 0

    great article, full of BS

  4. 0

    What about all the pressure fat legs place on joints, hips, and spine? All that contributes to inactivity and medications that are bad for the heart too.

  5. 0

    All well and good BUT you cannot choose where you will store fat on your body and more than you can choose where you will lose it.

    • 0

      You choose what you shovel in your mouth and the lifestyle you lead before obesity kicks in with all its associated health problems. The general public has been educated for decades just like the anti-smoking campaigns.

  6. 0

    Fat legs are correlated with weight overall. Any positive effect fat legs have on blood pressure will be negated by having an excess of weight overall. Have not met anyone with fat legs and perfect waist.

  7. 0

    The researchers must be referring to people(mostly women) who have pear shaped bodies. In other words have fat around their rump and legs.
    Many people including myself have accumulated fat body wide. Fat thighs cannot be a good thing because when in a sitting position the fat cuts off the circulation to the femoral arteries in the groins which must surely predispose to hypertension given that they are main arteries?
    I cannot see ANY health advantage to fat legs either aesthetically or from a health point of view.

  8. 0

    Totally silly article! I have been cursed with elephant legs all my life (now 68) and cannot find one single benefit. A curse with my much loved hobby, horse riding – could never get long boots to fit, cost a fortune getting them specially made. Try and find any pair of comfortable trousers or pants at the moment. Every pair have legs that barely fit a women’s arms, let alone their legs.
    Having been fit and healthy all my life, over the past few years I have been plagued with serious blood clots in my legs. Told by numerous doctors and specialists the cause is my thick, fat, ugly elephant legs. So no, I can definitely not see any ‘benefit’.

  9. 0

    Fairly useless information. If you’ve got skinny legs, how are you supposed to turn them into fat legs without getting fat in all the wrong places?

  10. 0

    The thinker, for you: the article talks about fatter legs – that does NOT necessarily imply obesity .

    What are your qualifications for pronouncing that fat legs are full of fluid?

    Some people do get swollen legs and ankles from fluid retention, but fat and fluid are not the same thing.

    It’s so sad that people are so judgemental about weight when we have had some really enlightening programmes about weight and weight problems.

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