freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger The trouble with big hips… | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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I see the body mass police are out in force again today, with the current targets being pear-shaped women who – according to research from US-based Northwestern University – are more likely to develop brain function and memory problems than their less shapely sisters. But before all you curvaceous riskfactorphobes get in a lather about developing Alzheimer’s or anything like that, listen up.

Number one, the study involved women aged 65+, so if you’re younger there’s no need to freak out (the study is being published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, which gives you a clue about the age group concerned). And number two, the study linked obese women who were pear shaped with impaired memory function – note the word obese. So unless you have a body mass index of 30 or more, don’t panic.

As Dr Diana Kerwin, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern Medicine, explains: “Obesity is bad, but its effects are worse depending on where the fat is located.”

Previous studies have pinpointed the link between excess fat around the middle (as in apple-shaped people) and an increased risk of heart disease, and now this. So whatever shape you are, the message is simply, don’t get fat. Well at least obesity is something we can, in most cases, take steps to prevent. The studies that annoy me are ones about issues we can’t do anything about – last month’s report about how short people have a greater risk of developing heart disease than tall people, for instance. I mean, if you’re short, there’s not much you can do about it, is there? Except make sure you don’t turn into a short, fat person, of course.

Now, er, what was I talking about (damn these hips…)?