Middle-aged women with extra fat in their legs, thighs, andhips do not face an increased risk of cardiovascular disease(CVD). For those with abdominal fat, it is a different story. Studieshave shown that excess fat in the abdominal region can bebad for the heart. To investigate the differences, researchersmeasured fat levels in 95 postmenopausal women. Risk factorsfor CVD, such as unhealthy levels of fasting insulin and high levelsof triglycerides, also were considered.
The results of the study indicated that excess fat by itself, withoutabdominal fat, appeared to have no negative effect on anyCVD risk factors. Surprisingly, the study found that women withextra leg fat appeared to have lower levels of triglycerides in theirblood. The finding suggested that leg fat may even protectwomen against heart disease.
Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &Metabolism (August 2005), the researchers explained that legfat may be far enough away from the organs responsible forcausing damage to the cardiovascular system. Also, leg fatmay act as a "sink" or "trap" for triglycerides, keeping them outof circulation.