Health risks for a pear-shaped person

Health risks for a pear-shaped person

A pear-shaped person, also known as triangle-shaped or gynoid shape person, is one whose hips are typically larger than the bust.

Written by Mita Majumdar |Updated : May 3, 2017 10:11 AM IST

A pear-shaped person, also known as triangle-shaped or gynoid shape person, is one whose hips are typically larger than the bust. The waist is nicely defined and the neck, arms and shoulders are slim. But the body fat is distributed around the hips, buttocks and thighs. The person with a pear-shaped body type first gains weight at the bottom followed by the legs, then starts piling up fat in the waist, and only then the upper body. This type of body shape is normally seen in women, hence the name gynoid shape.

There are number of health risks associated with gynoid body type.

Metabolic syndrome

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Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides (type of fat) levels, low HDL (good cholesterol) levels, and abdominal obesity, that raises your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. You are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if you have any three of the above risk factors. Again, it s not just your android body or a gynoid body that will determine if you are at risk for this condition. Research has shown important relationships between the android/gynoid ratio and metabolic syndrome in healthy adults. Read here Can wearing tummy tuckers or body shapers help tone your abs?

Researchers have found that abdominal adiposity, or the android type body, is an indicator of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, and the pear-shaped body type may actually lower the risk of metabolic syndrome. [1]

What it meansis that pear shaped people have lesser risk of developing metabolic syndrome than apple shaped bodies. However, a new researchconducted at UC Davis Health System and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has suggested otherwise. Concentrated fat in the buttocks can lead to metabolic syndrome, it says. The researchers found that fat stored in the buttock area secretes abnormal levels of certain proteins that can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance in people with early metabolic syndrome. [2]


Pear shaped persons are also known to have lower metabolic rates than apple shaped. Due to the fat stored in the thighs and other lower regions of the body they are also most likely to have problems like osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bone mass and strength decreases, increasing the risk of fractures. Although, pear shaped women may not suffer from osteoporosis during their menstruating years, the risk of osteoporosis increases significantly after menopause. This is because, oestrogen levels reduce drastically after menopause, and oestrogen levels are positively associated with good bone health. So, the risk of osteoporosis increases after menopause in all women, including those with a pear-shaped body. Read more about What are the health risks for an apple-shaped person?

Varicose veins

Pear-shaped women have heavier thighs and/ or hips and/or butts which causes the fat in those areas to compress veins, leading to varicose veins.


Cellulite is a condition in which the skin appears to have areas with underlying fat deposits, making the skin dimpled and lumpy. Cellulite is supposed to be body fat entrapped by the connective tissue. If there is a problem with the connective tissue (connective tissue disorder), the cellulite looks like an orange peel. As the cellulite is mostly found in the buttocks and thighs, pear shaped women are more prone to get them. Interestingly, the medical term for cellulite is gynoid lipodystrophy.

Although genes may predispose you to cellulite, hormones such as oestrogen, insulin, thyroid, and prolactin have a very important role to play in production of cellulite.

You may find it difficult to shed your gynoid fat even with exercise. With exercise, you will lose weight from upper body and even face, but not your hips and buttocks. Unfortunately, pear shaped women have a stubborn fat in these areas, and it is very hard to shed because, it is believed, this fat gives women the required supply of fuel during childbirth as well as during breastfeeding. [3] Here are Easy home exercises for a 36-24-36 (hourglass) figure

Another school of thought suggests that cellulite, especially in cases of connective tissue disorder, creates a net of fibrous tissue that makes it difficult for blood to reach the area. Since the blood carries oxygen, and oxygen helps the fat to burn, the fat can t be broken down into energy.

But keeping a healthy body should be at the foremost of priorities, especially after menopause. The long-term goal for pear shaped persons should be to avoid weight gain after menopause, that can turn pear into apple shape because of the hormonal changes.

  • Go for a well balanced diet.
  • Think low fat, high complex carbohydrates.
  • Avoid fatty foods, especially cheese and butter.
  • Avoid candy; it is associated with high risk of osteoporosis.
  • Avoid salty foods; it can worsen varicose veins.
  • Make sure to eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grain.

As for exercise, resistance training 3 times a week is suggested to build bones and strengthens your lower body. Cardio exercises are also beneficial for any weight loss and maintenance plans in women with pear-shaped body type. Strengthening your lower body can help increase muscle tone, and cardio exercise can help your muscles to break down fat as a fuel.


  1. Snijder MB, Visser M, Dekker JM, et al. Low subcutaneous thigh fat is a risk factor for unfavourable glucose and lipid levels, independently of high abdominal fat: the Health ABC Study. Diabetologia. 2005;48(2):301 308.
  1. UC Davis Health System P. UC Davis study deflates notion that pear-shaped bodies more healthy than apples. Ucdmcucdavisedu. 2013. https://health.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/7365.
  2. Rawlings A. Cellulite and its treatment. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2006;28(3):175-190. doi:10.1111/j.1467-2494.2006.00318.x.