A Good Thing About Fat Legs
Those surprising findings were presented at the virtual American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2020 Scientific Sessions September 10 to 13. Investigators from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School examined the rate of high blood pressure in relation to the amount of fat tissue in the legs of nearly 6,000 adults. They reported that study participants with a higher percentage of leg fat were less likely to have any type of high blood pressure than participants with lower levels of fat.
The Rutgers’ team classified study participants as having either a high or low percentage of leg fat and defined high fat in men as 34 percent or more and in women as 39 percent or more. The investigators reported that participants with higher percentages of leg fat were less likely to have any type of high blood pressure as those with lower levels of leg fat. They found that for participants with higher leg fat the risk for diastolic high blood pressure (the second number in blood pressure readings) was 53 percent lower than usual. The risk for systolic high blood pressure (the first number) – was 39 percent lower. After adjusting for factors including participants’ age, sex, race and ethnicity, education, smoking, alcohol use, cholesterol levels and waist fat, the risk for high blood pressure remained lower among participants with higher percentages of leg fat, although not as low as before adjusting for all these factors. Study leader Aayush Visaria, M.P.H, noted that while fat around the waist is detrimental to health, the new findings suggest that fat around our legs is “more than likely not a bad thing, and may even be protecting you from hypertension.”
Aayush Visaria et al, “Fatter legs linked to reduced risk of high blood pressure,” presentation at the virtual American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2020 Scientific Sessions, September 10-13, 2020.
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