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What are the health risks for an apple-shaped person?

An apple-shaped person typically carries weight around his waist and often the waist size is bigger than the hip size.

Written by Mita Majumdar |Updated : April 26, 2017 6:18 PM IST

Obesity is a life style disorder that has affected the new generation in a big way. It is a condition where the person has accumulated so much body weight that it has started having negative effects on their body. Body Mass Index (BMI) is often used as defining factor for obesity. A person with BMI of greater than 30 is said to be obese, and greater than 40 is said to be morbidly obese. But scientists are now saying that BMI alone cannot define what constitutes obesity and its complications. It s clear that the important issue is not the actual BMI of the person, rather, the issue is where this excess weight is carried in the body. In simple terms, what is important is the shape of your body. Is it apple shaped or pear shaped? Do you have an athletic build? Are you lean?

An apple shaped person typically carries weight around his waist and often the waist size is bigger than the hip size. The main reason for being apple shaped is abdominal fat. In medical terms, it is called visceral adiposity. Obesity of the apple shaped structure is also known as android obesity, in which the fat is predominantly distributed in the upper body, especially the abdominal region. Health risks increase in men when their waist size is more than 40 inches or 102 cm and in women who have a waist circumference of more than 35 inches or 88 cm. [1] Those of us who are apple-shaped are usually genetically predisposed to store more fat around the abdomen. Since the fat lies under the skin in apple-shaped people, fat buildup around the abdominal organs is directly linked with type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and other metabolic disorders such as dyslipidaemia and hypertension among others. Read more about Here's what overeating does to your body

Abdominal obesity, actually, has nothing to do with weight problems. Many people believe that having a bigger waist even with normal weight is ok, but there s been new research that suggests even if you re normal weight, carrying fat around your waist can have harmful side effects as it can give rise to high levels of fatty acids, bad cholesterol, blood glucose, insulin and blood pressure increase other cardiovascular risks. The problem with belly fat as compared to fat in other places of the body is that belly fat release their metabolic products straight into the portal circulation. Portal circulation means the circulation of blood to the liver from the small intestine, the right half of the colon, and the spleen through the portal vein. As a result, excess free fatty acids accumulate in the liver. Fatty acids also accumulate in pancreas, heart, and other organs. Incidentally, these organs are not geared up to store fat. This causes organ dysfunction and thus insulin regulation, and blood sugar and cholesterol regulation is impaired leading to various metabolic disorders including heart disease. Read more about 16 reasons obesity is UGLY (and we are not talking about the way you look)

For example, a study found that hyperinsulinemia (a condition in which insulin circulating in the blood is more than glucose levels in the blood) and high levels of free fatty acids at the level of liver and pancreas increase insulin resistance and decrease insulin secretion. And this is a perfect formula for developing type 2 diabetes. [2] Another study found that abdominal fat increases the risk of non-fatal heart attack in both, men as well as women. [3] Similarly, in an experiment to study the association between obesity and cardiometabolic disease in children, researchers found positive association between high blood pressure and abdominal adiposity. [4]

Obesity increases the risk of fatty liver as well. C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein produced in the liver, increases when there is an inflammation in the body. An elevated level of CRP is identified with a blood test and usually is a marker for a disease. Research has it that apple shaped people have a higher level resting C-reactive protein (CRP level), which is an indication that the body treats obesity as a chronic inflammatory state. [1] Read here Your waist size can up your risk of heart disease, diabetes + 3 more health problems

Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, your apple-shaped body could increase your risk of colorectal cancer, sleep apnoea, and premature death from any cause. A medical solution to android type obesity could be bariatric surgery that significantly improves body proportion. Other than medical solutions, it is best to keep the body fit with good diet and exercise. Apple shapes tend to crave on starchy food such as bread and salty wheat snacks. To combat abdominal fat, you need to focus on a balanced meal of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Cutting out wheat from the diet mediates blood sugar levels and also lessens bloating. A high-protein diet with minimal carbohydrates and plenty of fibre is also advisable.

Although the shape of your body is pretty much genetic, a healthy lifestyle should be a priority. Keeping stress under control and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is also a major factor that can contribute to maintaining a healthy body and mind.Any type of aerobic activity like swimming, cycling etc. will help reduce the layer of fat under the skin and belly fat.


  1. E. S. Shearer ES. III. Obesity anaesthesia: the dangers of being an apple. Br J Anaesth 2013; 110 (2): 172-174. doi: 10.1093/bja/aes471.
  1. Janjic D. Android-type obesity and gynecoid-type obesity. Praxis (Bern 1994). 1996 Dec 3;85(49):1578-83.
  1. Oliveira A, Rodr guez-Artalejo F, Severo M, Lopes C. Indices of central and peripheral body fat: association with non-fatal acute myocardial infarction. Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Apr;34(4):733-41. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.281.
  2. Szer, Graciela, Kovalskysa, Irina, & De Gregorio, Mar a J. Prevalence of overweight and obesity, and their relation to high blood pressure and central adiposity in students. Archivos argentinos de pediatr a. 2010:108(6), 492-498.

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