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Are you an Apple
or a Pear?   

Fruits Describing Body Shapes and Predispositions.  

Have you ever considered the health implications of being either an “apple” or a “pear?” If not, then it’s time to take a look at body shapes and decide where yours may be taking you health wise. These body descriptions have taken a further turn recently and have morphed into phrases like, “too much junk in your trunk” (pear-shaped) or “jelly belly” (apple-shaped). 

Dr. Marie Savard in her book Apples & Pears: The Body Shape Solution to Weight Loss and Wellness says that health issues really boil down to where we store excess fat. She suggests that excess fat stored mainly in the abdomen (the apple shape) is a negative hormone and chemical haven that can increase the risk of serious health consequences, while excess fat in the lower part of the body (the pear shape) may prove not as dangerous to overall health. 

Savard presents it to us this way: “Apple-shaped women—who gain weight around their middle—are more likely to develop disorders like heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. Pear-shaped women—who add pounds around their hips, buttocks and thighs—are more susceptible to problems like osteoporosis."  

So how can you choose between being an apple or a pear? Looking in a mirror should answer it for you, but if you aren’t sure then get your tape measure and check your waist-to-hip ratio or WHR. 

Start by measuring around the narrowest part of your waist to ascertain your waist circumference. Then measure around your hips—about three or four inches below your pelvis bone. Divide your waist circumference by your hip measurement to get your waist-to-hip ratio, or WHR. A WHR higher than 0.80 means you are apple-shaped. If your WHR is 0.8 or less, your body can be classified as pear-shaped. 

Excess body fat is a health hazard – everyone is aware of that, but even more threatening can be the location of the fat—with belly fat being high as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In a study found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that the fat deposited around organs (belly fat) and between muscles was directly connected to the amount of hard, calcified plaque present in the body. Calcified plaque can pave the way to atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of arteries, and can lead to heart disease just in case you didn’t know. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women next to cancer. Those people who are apple-shaped are also more likely to develop diabetes—since belly fat reduces the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that helps maintain normal blood-sugar levels.  

So whether you are a pear or an apple, the fact is that the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes can increase with every unhealthy inch added to a person’s midsection. Losing a few pounds is fantastic for looking better, but losing a few inches from your waist increases your longevity which is even better. 

Here’s to losing that “jelly belly.”