Monday, June 06, 2005

Those Hips, Those Hips...

This study, done by the Institute of Preventative Medicine in Copenhagen, is not to my liking. I don't have good breeding hips:

The Danish researchers examined almost 3,000 men and women aged between 35 and 65 from 1987 to 1988

They measured height, weight and body mass index - calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres.

They then looked at Danish health registers up until the end of 1998 to look at how many of the men and women had cardiovascular problems, and up to 2001 to see how many had died.

Compared to the group of women with the smallest hip circumferences, women with the biggest were found to have an 87% reduction in deaths.

They also had an 86% reduced risk of having coronary heart disease and a 46% reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to the researchers.

Previous studies have found both men and women with small hips are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and gall bladder disease.

However the study, which has been published in Obesity Research, found a wider hip circumference was not linked with better heart health in men.

The general warning about studies of this kind applies here, too: It's very difficult to standardize for all the other causes while examining people outside laboratory circumstances, and correlations shouldn't be assumed to imply causality unless there are other good reasons for interpreting them that way. For example, if the people with narrower hip circumferences were already unwell they might have been slimmer for that reason and more likely to then come up in the death statistics later on. In this case, though, there is a hypothesis why wider hips could be good for heart health:

The researchers say hip fat contains a beneficial natural anti-inflammatory.
They said this anti-inflammatory, called adiponectin, prevents arteries swelling up and becoming blocked.

The hips need to be at least forty inches wide for the protection to apply, the researchers argue. This means size fourteen hips, m'dears. I have no hope in hell of getting there.

In any case, it's not clear if growing more fat would help or if it's the bone structure in the hips that matters. I'd probably just grow apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped, and that's even worse for your heart.

Oh well, if this study is true it's good news for all the women with wide hips. That's the best I can do right now.