The shape of cardiovascular risk

Published: June, 2011

Apple, pear — it doesn't matter which of these fruits your body shape resembles. Extra body fat, whether you carry it around your midsection (apple shape) or your thighs (pear shape), is bad for your heart and health. So say researchers who reviewed the health records of more than 220,000 men and women taking part in 58 long-term studies (The Lancet, published online March 10, 2011).

The findings are the latest salvo in a spirited debate about the best way to gauge the health effects of overweight and obesity. The three most common measures are as follows:

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »