BODY FAT DISTRIBUTION

The location of fat on an individual’s body is partly due to genetic influences, but is also idiosyncratic. Some people store fat on the upper body, some on the lower body; some get fat around the neck first, some around the arms and chest. In general, men store fat around the waist or abdomen, and pre-menopausal women store fat around the hips and buttocks. These are the typical android (apple) and gynoid (pear) shapes that distinguish men and women. A third, generally ‘big all over’ shape, is the ovoid (fruit box) form of overfatness. This is often more characteristic of those with a genetic predisposition to obesity.

An analysis of national figures in the United Kingdom shows that while the ‘apple’ and ‘pear’ are the majority shapes of males and females respectively, around 14 per cent of men may be fat and pear-shaped and 27 per cent of women fat and apple-shaped. This is perhaps not unexpected with women because at menopause they lose the benefits of the female hormones, particularly oestrogen, which maintain female fat in the lower body (hips, thighs and buttocks) for reproductive purposes, and they begin to store more fat on the upper body, like men. Increases in abdominal fat in men and women differ with age. Women, in general, tend to store more fat around the lower regions until they reach menopause. Then they put it on like men. Men, on the other hand, generally increase their abdominal stores linearly with age from around 25 years on.

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Posted on Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 11:45 am and is filed under Weight Loss. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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