Too-Thin Thighs Unhealthy?
Study: Thighs Less Than 23 Inches Around May Be Risky, Maybe Because of Too Little Muscle
WebMD News Archive
Sept. 4, 2009 -- Having thighs that are too skinny may be a sign of
increased risk of death or heart disease, a Danish study
The study, published online in BMJ (formerly called the British
Medical Journal), tracked thigh circumference and a host of other traits in
more than 2,700 Danish men and women from the late 1980s through 2002.
During that time, 412 participants died and 403 developed cardiovascular
Death and cardiovascular disease were more likely for people with a thigh
circumference of less than about 60 centimeters (23.6 inches), measured at the
widest part of the thigh, just below the seat.
But there was no advantage to having thighs bigger than that. This wasn't a
case of the bigger, the better -- the key threshold was just 23.6 inches.
The findings held regardless of waist circumference, BMI (body
mass index), blood
pressure, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, smoking, alcohol use, education,
The study doesn't show why thigh circumference mattered. But the researchers
-- who included Berit Heitmann, PhD, of the Institute of Preventive Medicine at
Denmark's Copenhagen University Hospital -- suggest that not having enough
thigh muscle might be the issue -- and physical activity could build up those
The findings need to be checked in other studies, and it remains to be seen
if thigh circumference will help identify at-risk patients, writes Ian Scott,
MBBS, FRACP, director of internal medicine and clinical epidemiology at the
Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.