An inane headline in a BMJ news release - all for the apparent goal of attracting news attention.
Large thighs protect against heart disease and early death
The study, "Thigh circumference and risk of heart disease and premature death: prospective cohort study," cannot establish causation and therefore cannot establish "protection" as the news release foolishly claims because it is an observational study. It can only suggest an association - a statistical association. It can't prove a link between thigh size and heart disease and it's inaccurate and misleading to talk about "protection" from anything when you haven't established a causal link.
Medical journals send out news releases to lure news coverge. They write headlines like this to lure news attention. They're going to get plenty of news coverage of this study, I predict. And I'm not sure that's warranted - UNLESS the caveats of drawing conclusions from observational studies are included - something the news release didn't do.
Shame on the BMJ's news release department for failing to educate, failing to include caveats, failing to adequately explain the science that it published.