The lure of "thinner thighs" has been used to market countless books, DVDs, and diets over the years. If new research published today is confirmed by other studies, though, perhaps there should be an addendum: " . . . but not too thin." Writing in the medical journal BMJ, Danish researchers who followed 2,800-plus people for longer than a decade reported that—believe it or not—a smaller thigh circumference is associated with a bigger risk of heart disease and premature death. This effect was independent of body fat percentage and BMI.
The muscle hypothesis might be further teased out by looking at whether people who strength-train and therefore tend to develop more muscle mass are at a lower risk of death than people who do an equivalent amount of aerobic exercise, says Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
U.S. News & World Report by Katherine Hobson, 09/04/09