Deposits of fat around the thighs and the bottom could protect against disease like heart disease and diabetes, scientists believe.
Researchers say the fat reduces the effect of a harmful protein, which can trigger inflammation and illness.
They believe that it could mean that curvier celebrities, like Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé, are healthier role models for women than skinny models.
Scientists have previously warned of the dangers of accumulating fat around the tummy, which doctors say can be as important as obesity in affecting health.
Dr. Konstantinos Manolopoulos, from the University of Oxford, who carried out the review of research, said: “The fat around our thighs and hips is different to the fat we accumulate around our tummy. There is ‘good’ fat and ‘bad’ fat – just like there is good and bad cholesterol.
High levels of this type of fat around the bottom and thighs have been linked to lower levels of heart problems and lower cholesterol, according to the study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
The team behind the review called for more research to test the effect of increasing the amount of the fat, called gluteofemoral fat, on health.
They add: “Body fat distribution is a major determinant of metabolic health and gluteofemoral (fat) exerts specific functional properties that are associated with an improved … cardiovascular risk profile.
‘The protective properties of gluteofemoral fat have been confirmed in large population studies.”
The fat reduces the effect of harmful proteins, called cytokines, which can lead to inflammation and illness.
Obesity is calculated using the Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of weight in comparison to height.
A BMI score is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared.
A score of between 18 and 25 is considered normal, while 25 to 30 is overweight, 30 to 40 obese and over 40 morbidly obese.