11/10/2010 06:53 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Big Hips Or Podgy Tum? It's In Your Genes

Do you blame your mum for your lack of slim thighs or a flat stomach? Well you'd be right, say international experts.

Flickr, Koala:Bear

The scientists, who include researchers from Oxford University, claim they have identified new DNA variations in genes that are linked to body shape. In other words, whether you're pear-shaped or apple-shaped, it's down to your genes.

Writing in the journal Nature Genetics, the experts examined international studies that involved more than 100,000 people. Altogether they found 30 new gene variations they believe are linked to obesity and body fat distribution on the waist and hips, with several of the DNA variations having a more significant effect in women than men.

What the discovery means it that drugs could be developed in the future to alter the way your body stores fat - particularly if you're apple-shaped (that is, if you store fat around your middle instead of on your hips and thighs).

But why exactly is that important? Because research suggests people who store fat around their middle have a higher risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes than those who have a tendency to put weight on their hips and thighs.

So being pear-shaped may be a pain if you long to wear skinny jeans, but it could mean you're protected against diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

On the other hand, if you're overweight the researchers claim you can't just blame your genes, since the main factors are still a bad diet and lack of exercise.

Have you inherited your mum's shape? Tell us how.