Women: Can Your Body Shape Predict Your Diabetes Risk?

A study recently published by the American Society of Human Genetics found that where your body stores fat might influence your risk for type 2 diabetes

The Study

The study found that a genetic variant known as 'alleles' causes fat-storing cells to function differently. This can lead to a change in a woman's body shape, depending on her diabetes risk factor.

"Previous studies have shown that on average, women who carry fat in their hips - those with a 'pear-shaped' body type - are significantly less likely to develop diabetes than those with smaller hips," said lead author Kerrin Small, Ph.D. "Looking at the variant we studied, large-scale genome-wide association studies show that women with one allele tend to have larger hips than women with the other one, which would have a protective effect against diabetes."

What it Means

Simply put, what you should look for is whether you're 'apple' shaped, or 'pear' shaped.

A body with an apple shape is rounder around the middle, and women with this kind of body are more at risk.

A body with a pear shape is slimmer up top and wider around the hips/bottom. These women have a lower risk.

Don't Read Too Much Into the Fruit Analogy

Your body shape shouldn't worry you, nor should it give you a false sense of security. Researchers say that, while the fruit analogy is something to consider, it's not set in stone. “Patients who have a higher body mass index have a higher risk [of diabetes]," said Dr. Danny Sam of Kaiser Permanente.

Photo: Collective Evolution