Are you an apple or a pear?

research shows that people with an apple-shaped figure are at greater risk for insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease than their pear-shaped counterparts.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco —

Do you have a Buddha belly or big hips? It makes a difference in your overall health. In fact, research shows that people with an apple-shaped figure are at greater risk for insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease than their pear-shaped counterparts.

The reason is that the accumulation of fat around the vital organs, especially the heart, causes physiological stress that can lead to a three-fold increased risk of heart attack, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Body shape and weight result from a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, but researchers have recently uncovered three new genes that determine how many fat cells you have and where you are likely to put on that adipose layer. Using advanced technology and working with a group of people ranging in size and shape, researchers identified three fat-predicting genes: T-box 15, glypican 4 and homeo box. Researchers have found that these three genes are responsible for whether you’re an apple, a pear or simply over-sized.

Most experts do not feel you are destined for a fat future just because your parents were heavy. Even if you are genetically predisposed to a disease, your lifestyle will ultimately protect or endanger you.

The good news is that these newly identified genes can give researchers clues for developing new techniques to control obesity in the future. In the meantime, if your genes are working against you, eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein — and just keep moving.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 3, June/July 2006.

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