Larger leg fat mass is associated with lower glucose levels and may be protective against disturbed glucose metabolism, particularly in women.
A larger waist circumference is associated with a higher glucose level, whereas a larger hip circumference is associated with a relatively lower glucose level.
In a substudy of the large Hoorn Study in the Netherlands, 623 men and women were evaluated using a whole-body X-ray measuring device to measure body fat distribution. Researchers found greater trunk fat mass (around the waist) was associated with higher glucose levels.
The researchers concluded that when trunk fat is taken into account, the accumulation of fat in the legs seems to be protective against abnormal glucose metabolism, especially in women.
Further research is needed to explain this phenomenon.
-Diabetes Care, February 2004