During the past decade a series of published reports have examined the value of studying the relation between hip circumferences and cardiovascular end points. Specifically, in a series of recent studies the independent effects of hip circumference have been studied after adjustment for general obesity and/or waist circumference. These studies have been remarkable in terms of their consistency, and in the unexpected finding of an adverse effect of small hip size, after statistically correcting for differences in general and abdominal size. The hazard related to a small hip size may be stronger for women than men, but is evident in both genders. In this ‘viewpoint’, we wish to draw attention to the emerging body of evidence and to encourage researchers to continue collecting measures of lower body size in their surveys.