by Alexandra Owens
Here's a new study I can get behind. Researchers at the University of Oxford have determined that if you naturally carry fat in your gluteofemoral region (a fancy term for your thighs and butt) you may have a slew of genetic advantages, including smarter kids and protection against illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
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Tummy flab puts you at risk for obesity-related complications that pear-shaped people don't seem to face. "There's a lot of evidence that shows that fat deposits are not the same [throughout] the body," Robert Kushner, an obesity specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, told ABC News. According to him, stomach fat is "more metabolically active," meaning that it's more likely to spread harmful contents than the relatively stable butt and thigh fat. (The fat in those regions also releases fewer cytokines, the proteins believed to cause insulin resistance and diabetes.)
And those with big thighs aren't just blessed with good health. The study also suggests that women with wide, voluptuous hips give birth to more intelligent children, because omega three fatty acids, which are stored in lower body fat, have been shown to improve brain development. (Little Nori West is all set.)
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But before you become too elated, take note of a couple things. Scientists still haven't determined if having a big butt is healthier than just being thin all-around. (Get to it, scientists!) And in the end, this isn't the type of body shape you can achieve through diet and exercise. "You can't direct or drive the fat in one part of your body versus another," says Kushner. "For the average person on the street, it's determined by genetics."