London: While putting on weight is dangerous for health, women who have slim hips could be at risk of diabetes and heart attacks, finds new research.
The study showed that putting on weight around the hips is actually safer than accumulation around the belly or around other major organs such as the liver or pancreas.
The reason could be because some women are genetically less able to store fat at the hips, which puts them at risk of Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
Also, putting on fat is more likely to circulate in the blood.
“This means that individuals with this genetic make-up preferentially store their excess fat in the liver, muscles or pancreas, or in their blood in the form of circulating fats and sugar, any of which can lead to higher disease risk,” said Luca Lotta, lead researcher from the University of Cambridge.
“It may seem counter-intuitive to think that some people with less fat around their hips are at higher risk of diabetes or heart disease,” said Lotta.
For the study, the researchers studied the genetic profiles of more than 600,000 women.
They identified two specific groups of genetic variants — one that lowers fat around the hips and another increasing fat around the waist and belly.
Findings, published in the JAMA medical journal, showed that both of the genetic variants identified were associated with higher risk of Type-2 diabetes and heart attacks.
Genetics which specifically change fat distribution by lowering fat storage around the hips increase the risk of disease independent of, and in addition to, mechanisms that affect abdominal fat storage, the study noted.