Monday, December 29, 2008

Hippy hippy shake - bigger hips, smarter babies

What shape is your Mum in?

Part of nature’s grand design was for women to have curves, no matter what fashion promotes or Photoshop can change. Hips are for shaking and for placing infants so they don’t slide down your leg. A recent study suggest that hips are also for making that very same child smarter.

First you take the waist, then you take the hip
A study sample of over 16,000 women correlated their children’s mental development against their own “curvature” expressed as the Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR). The WHR is a simple measure of the waist circumference at the navel compared to the circumference at the widest part of the hips. A low WHR means that a person has less fat around the abdomen and more fat in the buttock, hip and thigh area – this is the preferred ratio.

It was clear that the lower the WHR in the mum, the smarter the child, and the more mature the mother, the smarter the child. In fact, the lower the WHR in the mum, the smarter the mum! Now, you will immediately twig to the notion that this is just a case of smart mums having smart kids. Well, the researchers were awake to that and determined that even when they took mum’s IQ out of the equation, the lower her WHR the smarter her child was likely to be.

Women have more body fat than men (under normal circumstances) and that fat is mainly distributed around the hips, thighs and buttocks. During puberty, women gain 10-20kg of body fat, most of it in the lower body, and it is fiercely protected by the body, being lost only during starvation. The lower body fat is the main source of long-chain polyunsaturated fats (LCPUFAs) such as docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fat better known as one the main fats in fish. These fats are critical in foetal and infant brain development.

There are much more LCPUFAs in lower body fat than found in abdominal fat. About 60-80% of the LCPUFAs in breast milk come from the mother’s lower body fat stores, with the remainder coming from the diet. It is thought that Mum’s diet would not be able to provide enough for the rapid brain development soon after birth (20% of the brain is LCPUFAs). Women with extra abdominal fat lower the level of an enzyme that helps the manufacture of LCPUFAs, so chubbier tummies meant less LCPUFAs getting around the body.

Under ideal situations, there is a sufficient gap between children to allow for replacement fat stores to be generated. This does not occur in poorly nourished women suffering famine and food shortages, or very young women who are still growing and developing themselves during their pregnancy.

What does it all mean?
Lower body fat in women is released later in pregnancy and during her infants first year to provide essential LCPUFAS for brain development. For years, musicians have been asking women to shake their hips. Clearly it was a ploy to allow quick determination of a lady’s IQ, and the likely IQ of her progeny. The curvature of the silhouette demonstrated nature at its smartest.

No comments: