FAT thighs reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.
Researchers found overweight men and women with a larger thigh circumference could be less likely to suffer from high blood pressure.
Scientists could now measure the upper legs — as well as the waist — to help identify those at risk of serious health conditions.
Chinese researchers studied 9,250 over-40s, of which around 5,350 were overweight.
They found men with a thigh circumference of more than 55cm were less likely to have high blood pressure — as were women at more than 54cm.
They also discovered that those with a small thigh circumference, of less than 51cm for men and 50cm for women, were likelier to have high blood pressure.
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The condition affects a billion-plus worldwide and is the leading cause of mortality and disability.
Dr Zhen Yang, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, said: “In contrast to stomach fat, leg fat may be beneficial for metabolism.”
He said the extra thigh muscle and fat there “secretes various beneficial substances”.