Ask your best friend "does my bum look big in this?", and if she replies yes, don't lose heart, for carrying extra 'baggage' on hips, bum and thighs is good for health
According to UK experts, the hip fat in that area protects against heart and metabolic problems.
They say the body fat mops up harmful fatty acids and contains an anti-inflammatory agent that stops arteries clogging, reports The BBC.
Big behinds are preferable to extra fat around the waistline, which gives no such protection, the Oxford team told the International Journal of Obesity.
Lead researcher Dr Konstantinos Manolopoulos, of Oxford University, said: "It is shape that matters and where the fat gathers.
"Fat around the hips and thighs is good for you but around the tummy is bad."
The expert added the more fat around the thighs the better - as long as the tummy stays slim.
"Unfortunately, you tend not to get one without the other," he said.
Fotini Rozakeas of the British Heart Foundation said: "This research helps us better to understand how fat acts in the body in order to develop new approaches in reducing heart and circulatory disease.
"If you are overweight, obese, or if you have a waist size that is increased, it is important to make changes to your lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet and doing regular physical activity, to reduce your risk of heart health problems."