In this post we will be looking at the perfect Body Mass Index (BMI) according to a research article.
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.
In the past, the waist to hip ratio of the female body shape was thought to be a major determinant of physical attractiveness.
A ratio of 0.7 (a curvaceous body) was said to be the peak ratio of attractiveness. However, this article proposes an alternative. One research study claims that the perfect bmi is more important.
METHODS: 40 male undergraduate men rated color images of 50 women in frontal view. Statistical analysis was then carried out.
BMI was much more significant than Waist to Hip ratio, for determining attractiveness.
Comments and Key points about the perfect bmi for attractiveness
The study only relates to men’s preferences of women’s body size. 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, the results are meaningless.
The graph of the 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 a BMI of 19. Attractiveness seems to drop sharply below a BMI of 17. Furthermore, there is a gradual drop in levels of attractiveness for BMI values over 25.
This is the kind of study that would be perfect for a 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 looks attractive to me.”
More recent studies for the Perfect bmi
This study is from 1988, this is obviously quite old now. Subsequent studies have found that a body mass index in young adult women of between 18 to 19 is the 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 30, 40, 50 or 60 year old is different from a women in her 20’s.
Furthermore, men grow heavier with age and this is also a natural process. Interestingly, men and women tend to find attractiveness in body shapes similar to themselves. A heavier man and a heavier woman can find each other very attractive.
The Perfect bmi – A 2005 study
In 2005, a research study looked into female attractiveness and the perfect bmi. A total of 682 participants from Britain and Malaysia rated images of women with a known Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist-Hip-Ratio.
The results confirm that BMI is the main determinant of female physical attractiveness. Interestingly, there were socio-economic differences with urban participants preferring women with a slightly lower BMI.
However, the perfect BMI for attractiveness, correlates with earlier studies and is 20.85 according to this study.