For a Long, Healthy Life, Embrace an Hourglass Figure

Beyonce photographed by Ellen von Unwerth

Updated July 22, 2010

The fashion industry may want women to lose their bums, hips and thighs — making every effort to look more like boys — but Mother Mature gave women butts for a reason. Hip fat mops up harmful fatty acids and contains an anti-inflammatory agent that stops arteries clogging, offering a woman protection against heart and metabolic problems.

Today’s Wall Street Journal causes us to update the cultural aspects of Bootylicious culture and society’s global fixations on the female derriere. From the French to Latino culture and African American, too, the derriere is fighting back for its proper place in a woman’s life.

University of Oxford UK researchers say that a big butt is preferable to extra fat around the waistline, which gives no similar protection. Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez — and definitely Marilyn Monroe — have this more womanly figure often adored more by men than women.

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld will say ‘no way’ but science could look to deliberately increase hip fat or look for ways — not to lipo away — but to redistribute a woman’s fat into good places.

It’s theoretically possible — but probably not proven — that liposuction harms a woman’s body. When fat is broken down quickly, it releases a lot of cytokines which trigger inflammation in the body.

These cytokines have been linked to cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and diabetes.

Beyonce photographed by Ellen von UnwerthSlower-burning hip fat also makes more of the hormone adiponectin that protects arteries, while promoting better blood sugar control and fat burning.

In the world of apples and pears, being a pear is a good shape for a long life.  Having a bigger bottom and slimmer waist is hard for obese women to achieve, but the ‘hourglass’ figure is healthiest for women.

Further research is required on my end, but Pilates may not be good for you either with its goals of elongating the body and minimizing butt and hip fat, according to my quick reading. Anne