What does your body shape mean for your health?

We know apples and pears are good for us, but if your body shape resembles an apple or a pear, what does this mean for your health?

Body shape is a good indication of your health and can indicate if you are at risk of several chronic diseases – including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation and high blood pressure (to name a few).

There is also the term ‘skinny fat’, which means on the outside you might look healthy but on the inside, you have a high percentage body fat, which can be associated with the above diseases – we will discuss this later in the blog!

If you have an apple shaped body, this means that you carry a higher proportion of fat around your abdomen or your mid-rift, whereas a pear shape means you carry most of your fat around your legs and hips.

For example: if you have a beer belly or a spare tyre around you, you’re more of an apple shape! If you are wider around the bottom of your torso you are a pear shape.

Is it better to be an apple or a pear? 

Generally being more pear-shaped means you are at lower risk to chronic disease than being an apple shape

This mainly comes down to visceral and subcutaneous fat.

Visceral fat is the fat that sits deep in our abdomen and surrounds our organs. Subcutaneous fat is stored under our skins and is the fat that you can feel

Visceral fat is more of a problem and increases our risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and other diseases.

Observational studies have shown that higher levels of visceral fat (and a larger waistline) are associated with fried foods, alcohol, processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The good thing is that you can reduce the risk.

– A higher intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber helps protect against some chronic diseases.

– In general, improving your nutrition and your activity levels will also reduce the risk

This doesn’t have to be a total overhaul – just a small step at a time. 

What about ‘Skinny fat’

It’s not just about weight. Skinny fat refers to a person who may appear to have a normal healthy weight, but actually shares a lot of internal characteristics of an overweight or obese person.

A person who is skinny fat will have a high fat mass and lower muscle mass.

How to know if you are at risk?

There are several ways to know if you are skinny fat, or at risk. One way that we use is by using a body composition analyser such as an InBody Test.

This analyses your body composition and measures several things; your body fat and visceral fat, skeletal muscle mass, and distribution of muscle and fat.

James Grogan