Our Body shapes are genetically determined even before our birth. Our tendencies to put on weight on some areas more than others is governed by our genetics and this tendency also gives rise to certain health risks associated with that fat if not tended to at the right time.

There are two types of fat deposit in our body:

1. Visceral fat

 2. Subcutaneous fat

The Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds our internal organs providing them with protection as they act as shock absorbers in case of any trauma and subcutaneous fat is the fat deposit directly under our skin. When there is an increase in the quantity of the fat deposit either in the visceral fat or the subcutaneous fat or both due to obesity or excessive weight gain, it can lead to various health risks.

More often than not, excess of visceral fat is deemed to be more dangerous than subcutaneous fat due to its property of breaking down and circulating in the body in the blood stream thereby increasing the blood cholesterol level (LDL- the bad cholesterol) and reducing the HDL (the good cholesterol). This further leads to insulin resistance by the cells of the body causing diabetes (Type 2) or causing clogging of the arteries leading to heart problems.

The body shapes are broadly categorised as:

1. The pear shape

2. The apple shape

People with the pear shape make up are more susceptible to putting on weight on the lower areas of their body like the hips, buttocks and thighs, these type of people usually have excess of subcutaneous fat and people with the apple shape have the tendency to put on weight around their bellies causing them to have a bulging belly, this fat is usually the more dangerous kind, visceral fat.

How to determine which category you belong to?

To find out all you have to do is take a tape measure and take the measurement of first your waist and then your hips. Then just divide the former by the latter. The number you will get is called the waist to hip ratio (WHR).

If your WHR is 0.85 or less, your body can be classified as pear-shaped. If your WHR is more than 1, your body shape falls into the apple category. To a large degree, the shape of your body determines which type of fat you'll accumulate most when you gain weight.

While women are more prone to being pear shaped and men being apple shaped, there are cases where some men have had the tendency towards the pear shape and women the apple shape.

While there is some research which states that being apple shaped is more dangerous than pear shaped there are other on-going studies which claims that the subcutaneous fat cannot be deemed absolutely harmless as the fat deposit around your hips and thighs can lead to secretion of certain compounds which increase inflammation and the CRP (C-reactive protein) content in the blood. Read about anti-inflammatory foods.

While there are newer studies being conducted on how much farther the ripple effect of the apple shape goes apart from the heart and diabetes,  the results show that apple shaped people are also more prone to kidney diseases. The core of the problem lies in the development of a phenomenon called metabolic syndrome which basically refers to a collective symptom such as- a larger waistline, high blood pressure, lower good cholesterol- all of which result in increased risk of heart diseases, diabetes and kidney dysfunction.

Hence, if you go by the number of areas of health the excess fat deposit in your body can effect, then according to the research available the apple shaped bodies full of visceral fat around their internal organs have more worry areas as they can have health risks starting from Hyperglycaemia, Hypertension, Cardiovascular abnormalities and kidney diseases. Whereas the subcutaneous fat of the pear shaped bodies lead to chronic inflammatory conditions, osteoarthritis and cellulite formation on skin and in some cases insulin resistance of the cells leading to diabetes.

So all in all, one thing is crystal clear- excess fat deposit in the body can lead to various health risks whether it is visceral or subcutaneous fat. It doesn’t matter if you are genetically predisposed towards having an apple shaped body or a pear shaped body because being overweight in either of the conditions can lead to an unhealthy state of being.

A very interesting observation among people who belonged to the apple shaped body type was that they craved high starchy, flour based food such as breads and high fat spicy foods with salty wheat snacks and people with the pear shaped body type were found to be taste-wise more inclined towards sweet-creamy starchy foods. Thus as our genes dictate our cravings and want us to feed on more and more on the types of food which can potentially exacerbate the fat deposit in our problem areas, we have to consciously cut down and remember to maintain a healthy waist to hip ratio so that our risk for developing the unhealthy diseases reduces to zilch.

These days studies are showing that measurement of the waist to hip ratio are three times more accurate in calculating the risk of diseases than the weight scale. As it is a widely known fact that different individuals have different body types with different weight distributions. So people with the pear shapes bodies can never have skinny legs and people with the apple shaped bodies will never have an hourglass figure. It is time that you embrace the body type you belong to and keep a healthy outlook towards your body.

The point of importance is that obesity under all circumstances can lead to various health risks and a sedentary lifestyle only adds to the woes of an overweight individual. What you as an aware human being need to know and do is maintain an ideal weight and keep the fat in your body under check. This can be done simply by replacing the high calorie foods by low to medium calorie foods and fitting in at least 30 minutes of routine exercise. These simple changes in life can lead to a healthy and disease free body.