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Do the Low WHRs and BMIs Judged Most Attractive Indicate Better Health?:

Do the Low WHRs and BMIs Judged Most Attractive Indicate Better Health?: It is widely claimed that in well-nourished populations, very low female waist–hip ratios (WHRs) together with low body mass indices (BMIs) are judged attractive by men because these features reliably indicate superior health and fertility. However, studies show that mortality rates are higher in women with low BMIs than in women with average BMIs and are inversely related to BMI in subsistence populations. Measures of current health in women of reproductive age have not been similarly studied. We analyze large U.S. samples of reproductive-age women and show that controlling for other factors known to affect health, those with low BMIs (<20), WHRs, or waist/stature ratios did not have better health than those with values in the middle range, and there was no relationship between subsequent health outcomes and BMI in early adulthood. Lower self-reported BMIs were linked to poorer health and an increased risk of infection. However, based on recent U.S. natality data, primiparas with lower BMIs had a lower risk of an operative delivery and of gestational hypertension. Beyond these two parity-restricted effects, relevant studies and new tests fail to support the view that women with the very low BMIs and WHRs consistently judged attractive are generally healthier than women with average values; significant correlations were consistently in the opposite direction. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Evolutionary Psychology SAGE

Do the Low WHRs and BMIs Judged Most Attractive Indicate Better Health?:

Do the Low WHRs and BMIs Judged Most Attractive Indicate Better Health?:

Evolutionary Psychology , Volume 16 (4): 1 – Oct 8, 2018

Abstract

It is widely claimed that in well-nourished populations, very low female waist–hip ratios (WHRs) together with low body mass indices (BMIs) are judged attractive by men because these features reliably indicate superior health and fertility. However, studies show that mortality rates are higher in women with low BMIs than in women with average BMIs and are inversely related to BMI in subsistence populations. Measures of current health in women of reproductive age have not been similarly studied. We analyze large U.S. samples of reproductive-age women and show that controlling for other factors known to affect health, those with low BMIs (<20), WHRs, or waist/stature ratios did not have better health than those with values in the middle range, and there was no relationship between subsequent health outcomes and BMI in early adulthood. Lower self-reported BMIs were linked to poorer health and an increased risk of infection. However, based on recent U.S. natality data, primiparas with lower BMIs had a lower risk of an operative delivery and of gestational hypertension. Beyond these two parity-restricted effects, relevant studies and new tests fail to support the view that women with the very low BMIs and WHRs consistently judged attractive are generally healthier than women with average values; significant correlations were consistently in the opposite direction.

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © 2022 by SAGE Publications Inc., unless otherwise noted. Manuscript content on this site is licensed under Creative Commons Licenses
ISSN
1474-7049
eISSN
1474-7049
DOI
10.1177/1474704918803998
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

It is widely claimed that in well-nourished populations, very low female waist–hip ratios (WHRs) together with low body mass indices (BMIs) are judged attractive by men because these features reliably indicate superior health and fertility. However, studies show that mortality rates are higher in women with low BMIs than in women with average BMIs and are inversely related to BMI in subsistence populations. Measures of current health in women of reproductive age have not been similarly studied. We analyze large U.S. samples of reproductive-age women and show that controlling for other factors known to affect health, those with low BMIs (<20), WHRs, or waist/stature ratios did not have better health than those with values in the middle range, and there was no relationship between subsequent health outcomes and BMI in early adulthood. Lower self-reported BMIs were linked to poorer health and an increased risk of infection. However, based on recent U.S. natality data, primiparas with lower BMIs had a lower risk of an operative delivery and of gestational hypertension. Beyond these two parity-restricted effects, relevant studies and new tests fail to support the view that women with the very low BMIs and WHRs consistently judged attractive are generally healthier than women with average values; significant correlations were consistently in the opposite direction.

Journal

Evolutionary PsychologySAGE

Published: Oct 8, 2018

Keywords: attractiveness; waist–hip ratio; waist circumference; body mass index; health; pregnancy

References