The risk was greatest among women who carried too much fat around their waist, said lead researcher Dr Sanne Peters, Research Fellow in Epidemiology at The George Institute, Oxford.
While a high body mass index (BMI) - a general measure of obesity - was linked to the risk of heart disease in both sexes, the risk was 10 to 20 per cent even greater among those with bigger waists and higher waist-to-hip and waist-to-height ratios.
If you were to compare your body to a piece of fruit, having an apple-shaped body can be more risky than having one that's shaped like a pear. "But the study is showing us that women do have different body types, and those may lead to higher risk of heart disease".
Body shape may play a big role in determining your chances of suffering a heart attack, increasing the risks for people with more weight around the waist.
"Men and women aren't the same, I think we've known that for a long time", said Dr Troy Leo, a cardiologist for Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute at Atrium Health who was not involved in the study.
At least, that's according to a new study broken down by the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Additional research on sex differences in obesity may yield insights into the biological mechanisms and could inform sex-specific interventions to treat and halt the obesity epidemic.
Apple-shaped women, with proportionally larger waists than hips, are thought to be particularly vulnerable.
According to the findings, the waist-to-hip ratio was an 18-percent stronger predictor of heart attack in women and 6-percent stronger in men.
At present, obesity increases the risk factors associated with an array of chronic health problems and diseases including heart attacks, diabetes and strokes.
This study suggests that the differences in the quantity and distribution of fat tissue not only results in differences in body shape between women and men, but may also have differential implications for the risk of heart attack in later life, researchers noted.