Fat in our tummies can be deadly because it increases the risk of arterial clogging. But the fat that older women tend to carry in their arms, hips, and backsides can actually protect them from heart attacks and strokes. According to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, full-figured women are less likely to have plaque-clogged arteries than women who carry their weight mainly in their stomach. And it's this plaque in the arteries that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
So is some fat actually good? It can be, if it's in the right place. The researchers call this all-over body fat "peripheral" fat, and it may actually improve metabolism.
But abdominal fat does just the opposite. This is why men are always at a higher risk - because when they're obese, it's mostly in the belly. But overweight women are still at risk for heart attack and stroke if they have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
But don't raid the refrigerator. Since we can't tell our bodies where to store fat, it's still best to exercise and watch your weight.