The thinner your thighs, the greater your risk of heart disease - that's the conclusion of a new study.
According to the research, which looked at more than 2800 men and women with an average age of around 50, thigh circumference is linked to the risk of heart disease and premature death.
The study has been published in today's edition of the British Medical Journal.
It found that heart disease risk more than doubled for both men and women who had a thigh circumference of less than 55 centimetres. Those volunteers with thighs between 55 and 60 centimetres received a protective effect against heart disease. However, that protective effect reduced for people with thighs above 60 centimetres in circumference, reports ABC Science.
According to associate Professor David Cameron-Smith, of Deakin University in Melbourne, thigh circumference is a broad indicator of physical activity and muscle mass is related to how much exercise you do.
"[If] you don't use it, you lose it," he said.
Cameron-Smith says using muscles has a very strong protective effect against heart disease and diabetes.
"It's been known for a long time that muscle mass and strength are important determinants of longevity and health. Even moving from no activity to some activity has a dramatic effect," he said.