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Why does weight gain seem to target certain areas of the body and not others?

By July 25, 2008 - 2:18pm
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I would like to know why weight gain targets some people all over (the apple shape) or some people in their lower regions (the pear shape) and other people in the upper region (I have no fruit-comparison for that one!)?

What is it with our own bodies that causes weight to target one person all over,or another only their top or bottom half? Is this a genetic pre-disposition?

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How about "banana" for the rectangular shape?

There are several diet and fitness books on the body shape weight issue. Dr. Marie Savard's book, "Apples and Pears: The Body Shape Solution for Weight Loss and Wellness," discusses this at length.

Read a review and summary of the concept.

Taken from the Wikipedia entry on female body shapes:

Shape is affected by fat distribution due to sex hormone levels[3]. The concentrations of estrogen influence where body fat is stored. Before puberty both males and females have similar WHR.[4] Normal pre-menopausal female estrogen levels will cause the body to store fat in the buttocks, thighs, and hips.[5][6] Hence, pre-menopausal females generally have fat distributed around their hip section but not around their waist. This causes their waist-hip ratio (waist measurement divided by hip measurement) to be lower than males. When women pass menopause, the estrogen produced by ovaries reduces, causing fat to redistribute from their buttocks, hips and thighs to their waist.[7] Fat stored during subsequent weight gain is primarily concentrated in the abdomen.

Body Mass Index, which considers only height and total mass, is an approximate method for calculating whether an adult is overweight, underweight, or of a healthy weight. Some recent research indicates that the waist-hip ratio is a better measure of obesity than body mass index, particularly for the purpose of determining risk of heart attack.[8] The ideal ratio for women is about 0.7[9]. The body fat percentage is considered to be an even more accurate measure of obesity. Of these three measurements, only the waist-hip ratio uses dimensions that will vary depending upon the body structure. Hence, it is possible for two women to have vastly different body mass indices but the same waist-hip ratio, or to have the same body mass index but vastly different waist-hip ratios.

The ideal female body size and shape varies among cultures[10]; however, the preference for a small waist has remained fairly constant throughout history[11]. A low waist-hip ratio has often been seen as a sign of good reproductive potential, but recent research suggests that attractiveness is more correlated to body mass index than waist-hip ratio, contrary to previous belief[12][13]

July 25, 2008 - 4:55pm
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