Title of article:
Optimum body-mass index and maximum sexual attractiveness.
Authors: Tovee MJ, Reinhardt S, Emery JL, Cornelissen PL.
Journal: Lancet, Aug 1998;352(9127):548
No abstract was published for this short research letter in the journal "Lancet". Therefore I have provided the following brief summary:Before I give the summary, here’s a link showing facial expression is also important. Happy women and Proud men are most attractive.
Waist to Hip ratio of the female body shape was previously thought to be a major determinant of physical attractiveness. A ratio of 0.7 (a curvaceous body) was said to be the optimum of attractiveness. However, this article proposes an alternative. This study’s hypothesis was the Body Mass Index was more important. METHODS: 40 male undergraduate men rated color images of 50 women in frontal view. Statistical analysis was done.
RESULTS: BMI was much more significant than Waist to Hip ratio, for determining attractiveness.
Comments and Key points about attractiveness and BMI
The study only concerns Men’s preferences of women. Actually, it only measure the opinions of young college men, regarding college-age women. So, if you aren’t a young woman in this age group, these results are meaningless.
The graph of their results shows a smooth trend-line that peaks at BMI of 20. However, if you look at the individual data points, there seems to be a peak at BMI of 19. Attractiveness seems to drop sharply below BMI of 17, and it drops gradually for BMI values over 25.
This is the kind of study that could be someone’s school science project. I have no criticism of this little study, but it would be interesting to have more data, from different aged men and women, rating different ages of women and men.
A gentleman friend of mine once said:
"The best thing about growing older, is that more and more of the opposite sex population looks attractive to me."
This study is from 1998. Other subsequent studies have found a body mass index in young adult women of between 18 to 19 is most attractive.
A key point is “YOUNG adult women”. As women grow older in adult life their body mass index naturally increases. So the optimum BMI for a 30s, or 40s or 50s or 60yr old is different from a women in her 20s. Another point is that men grow heavier with age, also a natural process, and men and women tend to find attractiveness in similar-to-themselves. A heavier man and a heavier woman can find each other to be very attractive.