What Your Body Type Reveals About Your Health

Weight isn’t just dependent on what you eat or how you exercise, but other factors as well. Learn more about what your body type says about your health.

By URLife Team
01 Jun 2023

When you look in the mirror, what do you notice? Each person has a distinct combination of features, proportions, and characteristics that defines them. Some of us are tall and lean, while others are shorter and curvy. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to effortlessly maintain a healthy weight while others struggle no matter how hard they try? It turns out that there's more to it than just willpower and genetics. Your body type, or the way your body distributes fat and gives the body its shape can give clues about your overall health and disease risk.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


There is no universally accepted definition of a "body type". You may be a pear, an apple, a triangle or a rectangle in shape, but that might not be telling you much about your health.  Understanding your body type allows you to tailor your diet, the type of clothes that fit you the best and exercise routines to suit your unique requirements.  It's not just about appearances; it's about the intricate connections between your physical form and your internal health. Your body type is so much more than what meets the eye. It is like a personal health compass, guiding you toward a deeper understanding of your overall well-being.


Related story: What Does Your Body Want? Read The Body Signals


The concept of body types is not universally agreed upon. In other words, body types are not rigid or absolute, and many individuals may exhibit characteristics of multiple body types or fall somewhere in between. Don’t confuse body type with body shape. People who fall into these three categories may also be characterised by the shape of their bodies. There are several commonly recognised body types, each characterised by specific features and proportions.


Here are a few commonly mentioned body types:


Related story: 15 Ways To Nourish Body, Mind And Soul


Male Body Types

Male body types can vary and they are often categorised into three main categories: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. These categories describe different physical characteristics and tendencies in terms of body shape, muscle mass, and fat distribution.

1. Ectomorph

Ectomorphs are often described as having a lean and slender physique, with a fast metabolism. People with this body type often find it hard to gain weight in the form of muscle or fat.


2. Mesomorph

Mesomorphs are typically characterised by a naturally athletic and muscular build, with well-defined muscles and have an easier time gaining and maintaining muscle mass.


3. Endomorph

Endomorphs tend to have a higher body fat percentage, with a rounder or softer appearance and a tendency to store fat more easily.


Related story: 20 Minutes Low Impact Bodyweight Exercise To Burn Fat


Female Body Types

Body shapes can vary significantly based on genetics, lifestyle factors, and personal characteristics. As per a 2022 study by Medical News Today, females generally have a higher percentage of body fat compared to males, and their bodies often exhibit natural curves in various areas. While it's important to remember that every individual is unique, there are some commonly recognized broad categories that describe the female body shape. These categories include:


1. Pear-shaped

Pear-shaped body shape is having a smaller upper body and a wider lower body. The hips and thighs are typically more pronounced compared to the bust and shoulders. A pear-shaped body is associated with surplus fat being stored in the lower body (abdomen, hip, and thigh areas). A 2017 study published in PLOS One revealed that visceral fat — particularly in women — was strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and hypertension.


2. Hourglass-shaped

The hourglass body shape is often associated with a well-defined waist and balanced proportions between the bust and hips. The waist is narrower, creating an hourglass-like silhouette.


3. Apple-shaped

Apple-shaped bodies tend to have more weight distributed around the midsection, including the abdomen and waist, with relatively slimmer legs and arms. As per 2020 study by the Radiological Society of North America, “apple-shaped” and “pear-shaped” are common descriptors of human body shapes, based on where fat tends to be stored in the body. 


In apple-shaped bodies, fat is distributed largely around the midsection, while in pear-shaped bodies, fat is distributed lower around the hips and thighs. The type of fat stored also plays a role in cardiometabolic risk. One type of fat—ectopic fat—is particularly dangerous. It may be found in places such as the abdominal region, muscles, liver and other organs.


4. Rectangle-shaped

The rectangle body shape is characterised by a straighter or athletic build, with minimal variation in size between the bust, waist, and hips. In this body type, if you are overweight, you are at risk for certain health conditions, such as risk for heart disease and diabetes, problems with menstruation, getting pregnant, malnutrition, and depression. 


5. Inverted triangle-shaped

This body shape features broader shoulders and bust compared to the waist and hips, creating an inverted triangle appearance. In this body shape, people do not gain weight easily and have an easier time losing weight. However, if triangularly-shaped people consume more fats, they are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease and are also at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Although inverted triangle body shape does not tend to cause any serious health conditions, it may carry visceral fat near the internal organs or extra subcutaneous fat around the stomach area.


Related story: What Are Your Cravings Telling You About Your Body


Managing Weight For All Body Types

Weight management is a complex process that goes beyond body shape. It involves the balance between calories consumed (calories in) and calories burned through physical activity and bodily functions (calories out). Regardless of body shape, maintaining a healthy weight typically requires a balanced diet, regular exercise, and overall lifestyle habits. While the specific strategies may vary depending on individual body types, the following guidelines generally apply to weight management for all body types:


1. Balanced diet

Focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods while practising portion control. Include a balance of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats in your meals. Limit the intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, and foods high in saturated and trans fats.


2. Control calories

Controlling your calorie intake is a critical aspect of weight management and overall health. By being mindful of portion sizes and avoiding mindless eating, you can take control of your calorie consumption and start making progress toward your weight loss goals. It's important to keep in mind that everyone's calorie needs are different based on factors like age, sex, fat percentage and activity level.


Count your calorie intake here.


3. Engage in physical activity

Do regular exercise that combines cardiovascular activities (such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling) with strength training exercises. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week, along with strength training exercises twice a week.


Join fitness class today.


4. Eat mindfully

Practise mindful eating by being aware of your hunger and fullness cues. Slow down while eating, savour your food, and pay attention to feelings of satisfaction rather than overeating.


Access your health with certified nutritionists.


5. Stay hydrated

Stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps maintain optimal body functions, supports digestion, and can help manage cravings.


6. Lifestyle changes

Incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle, such as getting sufficient sleep, managing stress levels, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. These factors can influence weight management and overall health.


When You Just Can’t Lose Weight

Losing weight can indeed be challenging for some individuals due to certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders. These conditions can affect metabolism, hormone regulation, and other factors that influence weight management. Let's take a look at each condition:


1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterised by imbalances in reproductive hormones, which can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, and difficulty conceiving. PCOS is also associated with insulin resistance, which can make weight loss more difficult. Insulin resistance can affect how the body processes and stores carbohydrates, leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.


2. Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism. When the thyroid is underactive (hypothyroidism), the production of these hormones decreases, slowing down the metabolism. This can lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. Conversely, when the thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism), the metabolism speeds up, resulting in weight loss or difficulty gaining weight.


3. Arthritis

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints, and it can cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. These symptoms may make exercise more challenging, leading to decreased physical activity and potentially affecting weight loss efforts.


4. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. It can disrupt the quality of sleep and result in daytime fatigue and reduced energy levels. Sleep apnea can indirectly affect weight loss by influencing overall energy expenditure and potentially decreasing the motivation for physical activity.


Consult a dietician today!


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Weight Management With UR.Life

Each person's body is unique, and weight management can be influenced by a variety of factors. It's always a good idea to consult with UR.Life’s healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalised advice and guidance on maintaining a healthy weight.

Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have lots of body fat. Taking regular health checks can help detect fats at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.

With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.



Follow Us On Instagram