Carrying fat on legs protects postmenopausal women from heart disease, a study suggests.
Woman measuring thighsImage copyrightGetty Images

Carrying more fat on legs compared with the stomach protects postmenopausal women from heart disease, a study says.

Women of a healthy weight with the highest risk of stroke or heart disease had the most belly fat and the least hip and thigh fat, the European Heart Journal research found.

The scientists said "apple-shaped" women should try to lose belly fat and become more "pear-shaped".

More research is needed to find out why the link exists, a heart charity said.

What did the researchers do?

The research followed 2,600 women who were a healthy weight - with a body mass index (BMI) of between 18 and 25 - over 18 years.