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In Praise of Thunder Thighs

All my life I've bemoaned the (large) size of my thighs. But new research has given me reason to appreciate my big legs: According to a study published last week in the on-line journal bmj.com, men and women with small thighs face a higher risk of having heart disease and of dying prematurely.

The Danish study followed nearly 3,000 people, roughly half men and half women, for 12.5 years after measurements of their thighs, hips, waists, height, weight, blood pressure and body-fat composition were taken.

After controlling for other risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol and overall body fat, the researchers found that having larger thighs was associated with less likelihood of succumbing to cardiovascular disease or death. The protective effect of bigger thighs only extended so far, though: thighs measuring more than about 24 inches around (60 centimeters in the study) didn't correlate with better health.

Researchers expressed regret that they hadn't measured the fat-to-muscle makeup of participants' thighs, as they surmise that having larger thighs by virtue of having more muscle mass may have made the difference between good health outcomes and bad. (More muscle mass is thought to combat insulin resistance, thus warding off type 2 diabetes and, by extension, heart disease.)

Because the thigh-size/health relationship was even stronger than the relationship between waist circumference and health, the study's authors suggest that getting people to exercise their lower bodies and thus build more thigh muscle might make more health impact than getting them to shrink their middles.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  September 9, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  General Health  
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Comments

Hopefully the 24 inch circumference is per-thigh, not the two of them together!

Posted by: RedBird27 | September 9, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Finally, validation....but I'm still not wearing corduroy pants...

Posted by: bluestilton | September 10, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Here's the hypothesis:

Larger, muscular thighs are developed by exercise, which improves your cholesterol ratio. Larger, muscular thighs also reduce blood pooling in the legs, resulting in lesser development of blood clots. Less cholesterol and fewer clots means less opportunity for blockage of heart blood vessels, and less chance for adverse cardiac events.

Posted by: mhoust | September 10, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The thighs consist of the two most powerful sets of muscles in the body. The quadricep and the hamstring. Every single personal trainer out there will tell you that building these muscles will do more for you than any other anerobic exercise. The stronger they are the more calories you will burn in everything you do on your feet. They increase the effectiveness of every other excercise.

Posted by: akmzrazor | September 10, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Duh:

Correlation not Causation???

Big Thights Cause healthy Heart-- NOT

You EXERSIZE and it causes:
o Big Muscles
o You work your HEART more

So Exersize Causes Healthy Heart.

Where did the thinkers go.
We know where the easy story writers, went looking for psuedo scientists.

Posted by: harry_consumer | September 10, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

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