Women sit on specially designed seats at a park in southwest China's Chongqing municipality, April 20, 2007. Fat that accumulates around the hips may provide protection against diabetes, according to media reports Thursday quoting U.S. researchers. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
Fat that accumulates around the hips may provide protection against diabetes, according to media reports Thursday quoting U.S. researchers.
Researchers found subcutaneous fat in the hips and thighs can reduce insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity.
It has already been known for some time that fat accumulating in the abdomen can raise a person's risk of diabetes and heart disease, while people with pear-shaped bodies, with fat deposits in the hips, are less prone to these disorders.
In trying to decipher why fat in different parts of the body has different effects on the metabolism, Ronald Kahn and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School transplanted subcutaneous fat from the hips and buttocks into the abdomens of mice.
They found that when subcutaneous fat was transplanted into the abdominal area, there was a decrease in body weight, fat mass, glucose and insulin levels and an improvement in insulin sensitivity. By contrast, transplantation of abdominal fat into either the abdominal or subcutaneous area had no effect.
"This points to a new opportunity to find substances made by subcutaneous fat that may actually be good for glucose metabolism,'' said Kahn.
(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2008)