Hopefully you’re neither, because the terms Androidal and Gynoidal body shapes refer to somebody who categorised as obese. Now by no means do I refer to this in a derogatory sense, but it is well understood that obesity is a risk factor for many chronic conditions, meaning weight loss (according to current guidance) would be advisable for this segment of the population.
If you are indeed obese or know of someone that is, then it may pay to know whether you/they have android fat distribution or Gynoid distribution.
Androidal fat distribution
This refers to the distribution of body fat in an obese individual, and it describes the accumulation of body fat around the mid- section, also known as central obesity. This type of obesity is more common in males than females, quite often referred to as a ‘beer belly’ whether it’s beer related or not! Current research suggests that an androidal distribution of fat increases the risk of coronary artery disease as well as reducing insulin sensitivity resulting in elevated fasting peripheral insulin levels.
Androidal fat distribution AKA ‘apple shape’ or central obesity
Central obesity is classified as an increased waist circumference and hip to waist ratio. Current guidelines state a waist circumference of > 102cm in males and > 88cm in females is indicative of central obesity. The problems associated with central obesity mainly stem from the type of fat causing the central obesity. So if the central obesity is mainly caused by too much visceral fat i.e. internal fat stores compared to subcutaneous fat (fat stored just under the skin) then the risk of coronary artery significantly increases.
Gynoidal fat distribution AKA Pear shape
Although gynoidal fat distribution isn’t desirable, it is the better of the two types of fat distribution in the sense that it doesn’t come with so many secondary health implications, and if it did then they would usually be in a milder form. A gynoid shape resembles a pear shape meaning the individual stores most of their fat in the backside and hip area. Gender and ethnicity plays a part in determining where people store fat, females (in particular African American females) are far more likely to store fat in a gynoidal manner (Stults- Kolehmainen et al. 2013).
What is the significance of all this?
Well aside from the way you look, the associated health implications are by far most significant. The Android body predominates in the dangerous visceral fat, so if you have a ‘beer belly’ so to speak (irrespective to whether it was beer or food that gave you it) then it would be prudent to shift this weight by regular physical activity and a healthy balanced diet. Also a structured supplement plan may be of use, replacing a meal with a nutritionally balanced protein shake or by introducing a fat metabolising agent may help to mobilise and burn those damaging fat stores. Interestingly, people with androidal fat distribution are thought to be more receptive to exercise related fat loss than gynoidal (although they are still capable), so it pays to invest some time in the gym!
Stults-Kolehmainen, M, A., Stanforth, P, R., Bartholomew, J, B., Lu, T., Abolt, C, J. & Sinha, R. (2013). DXA estimates of fat in abdominal, trunk and hip regions varies by ethnicity in men. Nutrition & Diabetes. doi:10.1038/nutd.2013.5