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Apples and Pears: Can Fat Distribution Patterns in Females Predict Health Problems?

By Randolph Fillmore

Women with excess abdominal subcutaneous fat (A-FAT) and the distinctive “apple” body shape those deposits create are at greater risk for future obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke and heart attack, compared to “pear” shaped women with the same overall weight but with fat in the hips and thighs (GF-FAT). 

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The apple vs. pear distinction with differential influences on metabolic health was first proposed in 1956, and it prompted a recent study by a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in collaboration with colleagues at the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes at AdventHealth in Orlando, Florida, and, co-led by Timothy F. Osborne, Ph.D., associate dean for Basic Research and director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research in St. Petersburg, Florida, that was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Genetics.

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