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Body image and waist-to-hip ratio

Body image and waist-to-hip ratio

An image of rear-viewed, waist-to-nip average, young European woman was created by K. Bunak, V. Dixson BJ Grimshaw GM Linklater WL Dixson AF. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Body image and waist-to-hip ratio

Body image and waist-to-hip ratio -

Then, the participant was presented with pairs of silhouettes such that one silhouette in each pair departed from the most attractive silhouette in BMI only, whereas the other departed from it in WHR. Alternatively, if WHR is more important than BMI, the opposite choices were expected.

The theory of sexual selection predicts that preferences evolve to facilitate selection of a partner of high mate value Kokko et al. We, therefore, predict that people should perceive women with low, but not very low, BMI and WHR as the most attractive because these values signal optimal health.

Literature data also indicate that WHR in humans is at least as important for health and survival as BMI Singh and Singh ; World Health Organization In light of this, we expect participants to value WHR to no less a degree than BMI when judging attractiveness.

Twenty-two young white Polish women aged 18—28 of apparent normal physique were photographed from the back and the right profile at a distance of 3 m with a digital camera Panasonic DMC-FZ18, 8. They were clothed in only their underwear or a bikini. The women reported their height and weight, and their waist and hip circumferences were measured.

Waist circumference was taken at the level of the smallest body width between ribs and hips and hip circumference at the level of the maximum body width below the waist. Six of the women with apparently typical physique were measured for a further set of anthropometric traits and compared with average values for Polish women for details, see Kościński In this way, the woman possessing body proportions closest to the population means was identified.

She was 22 years old, Although she had somewhat lower body mass and WHR than the appropriate population averages In the rear-view photograph of this woman, the left body side was reflected and superimposed on the right to achieve an ideally symmetric figure.

The legs were digitally lengthened by an equivalent of 1. The shoulder width, chest width, and upper limb length of the woman required no alteration. The obtained silhouette representing the average body proportions for Polish women was further modified to produce figures of differing BMI and WHR values.

Although a change in BMI that does not impact on WHR can be easily achieved by an appropriate change in overall body width, the modification of a rear-view female silhouette for WHR without producing a change in the BMI of the depicted woman is more challenging and requires a simultaneous change in both waist and hip width Supplementary Data.

The influence of waist and hip manipulations was restricted to the breast—knee part of the body Supplementary Data and Supplementary Data ; further analysis was therefore confined to this region only.

We modeled the breast—knee region of the female body as an orderly vertical pile of 99 cylinders with irregular bases as obtained by horizontal sections of this region at levels Supplementary Data and determined how the size and shape of this region in a rear-view silhouette translates to the volume and weight of this body part.

To this end, ratios between anteroposterior and transverse body dimensions depth-to-width ratios at levels between breasts and knees for all 22 photographed women were calculated by dividing body widths in pixels on the profile-view image by the corresponding body widths on the rear-view image.

Regression analyses of the depth-to-width ratio on BMI were then performed for a total of levels between the breasts and knees and the results used to estimate depth-to-width ratios for the subsequently constructed silhouettes of varying BMI values.

To determine the shape of the base of the cylinders constituting the model of the body, horizontal body sections were produced with Bryce 7 software on a popular 3D digital model of an anatomically correct woman named Victoria www.

These sections were made at 5 levels: just below breasts, at the level of narrowest waist, greatest protrusion of the buttocks, crotch, and knees, with the superior views of the sections being saved to JPG files.

The ratio between the area of each body section and the area of the rectangle circumscribed around this section i. Ratios for the remaining body levels were obtained by linear interpolation.

The above-mentioned data enabled estimation of the anteroposterior dimensions and body volume between the breasts and knees for any rear-view silhouette.

The total volume was the sum of the volumes of 99 cylinders with irregular bases. The volume of each cylinder was the product of its height and the area of its base. The height of the cylinder was taken as the height of the body part embracing the cylinder e.

All calculations of digital manipulations to be applied to the silhouette images were performed in the Microsoft Excel application. We essentially followed this reasoning but added a minor correction reflecting the fact that depth-to-width body ratios were not constant as body size varied see above.

The range of BMI from 15 to 26 embraces figures from severely underweight to mildly overweight World Health Organization and includes the values found as the most attractive in previous studies see Introduction. Each of the thus produced 12 silhouettes was further modified in WHR value.

Waist girth and hip girth, the ratio of which constitutes WHR, were estimated for each silhouette using the method devised and validated by Kościński unpublished data.

Body shape of the section at widest hips was not elliptic, and therefore, the hip circumference was estimated with a carefully constructed combination of elliptic and line segments Supplementary Data.

The Solver add-in for the Microsoft Excel application was used to determine the magnitude of waist and hip width changes required to obtain a silhouette depicting a woman who possessed the desired WHR and whose BMI was equal to the BMI of the original silhouette.

This was facilitated by spreadsheet formulas that calculated anteroposterior body dimensions, the volume of the breast—knee segment, and waist and hip circumference on the basis of data on body widths of a rear-view female silhouette.

For each of the previously determined 12 silhouettes varying in BMI, the Solver was run 26 times so as to obtain silhouettes possessing WHR from 0. This range covered the normal WHR variability in young Polish women, which is about 0.

The magnitude of changes in overall body width to alter BMI and in waist and hip width to alter WHR as determined in Microsoft Excel was then graphically applied to images of rear-view silhouettes using author-developed software in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.

Images were manipulated by means of warping Supplementary Data , a common technique for image distortion used in many studies on attractiveness of faces e. The resultant images were saved to JPG files Figure 1. These comprised images embracing 12 levels of BMI from 15 to 26 times 26 levels of WHR from 0.

Examples of stimulus silhouettes. Altogether, images were constructed and they comprised 12 levels of BMI from 15 to 26 times 26 levels of WHR from 0. The method of manipulation of WHR applied in this study has been validated in Kościński unpublished data so we checked for the credibility of the method of BMI manipulation only.

Six silhouettes of typical WHR 0. In addition, 10 photographs of real women of known BMI and highly diversified in this trait were taken from Swami, Salem, et al.

The 6 boards were projected in random order on a wall and 19 men and 19 women aged 23—40 were each requested to indicate the women from the reference set having the same body mass as the woman in the center of the board.

Evaluations were done on a printed analog scale with labels from 1 to 10 anchored to it; adjudications between the real women were thus allowed. The images from Swami and coworkers differed in many ways from ours—among others, they were clothed in a leotard and leggings, depicted in a grayscale against a black background, shown from the front with their limbs markedly shifted to the sides, differed from each other in body shape, breast size, and height on the image, and some of them were noticeably asymmetric.

The use of their stimuli constituted, therefore, a stringent test for our stimuli by preventing a simple matching of the figures by body width. Relying on the BMI values provided by Swami and coworkers for reference silhouettes, we calculated the expected answers for each of our women as well as the BMI values corresponding with the actual answers Supplementary Data.

The judged BMI values correlated with the intended BMI at 0. The difference between judged and intended BMI values was 0. This indicates excellent accuracy for BMI values between 15 and 19 and an underestimation for values between 21 and The underestimation may be a result of any of the above-mentioned differences between our stimuli and those by Swami and coworkers.

In addition, some variation in body mass among reference silhouettes can be related to factors that do not influence appearance, such as bone density. For example, figures no. Higher accuracy of women than men in assessing female body mass was already reported by Vartanian et al. We, therefore, asked 18 additional women all 24 years old to estimate body mass of 2 female silhouettes: one having BMI of 17 and WHR of 0.

The participants were informed that the depicted women were of average height cm. The mean estimated body mass for these silhouettes ±SD was They were each given a web page address and asked to complete the questionnaire therein. The questionnaire interface was developed in Macromedia Flash MX 6.

First, participants provided their age, height, body mass, and sexual orientation from 1—definitely homosexual to 5—definitely heterosexual; answer refusal being allowed. Two women who described themselves as bisexual and 1 man who refused to provide his sexuality were excluded from further analysis, thus reducing the sample size to 67 females and 51 males, all heterosexual.

A female silhouette of resolution × pixels was displayed on the left-hand side of the screen, whereas a rectangle enclosing a disk and an instruction to use the disk so as to make the silhouette as attractive as possible were shown on the right-hand side of the screen Figure 2.

The disk could be moved with the computer mouse to any location within the rectangle. The location of the disk in the rectangle translated into BMI and WHR values of the silhouette displayed on the left-hand side of the screen. The left, right, bottom, and top edge of the rectangle corresponded to the lowest BMI 15 , highest BMI 26 , lowest WHR 0.

The initial position of the disk was randomly set to 1 of 4 angles of the rectangle. On the basis of this ideal silhouette, 6 silhouettes were selected for investigation of the relative importance of BMI and WHR for attractiveness. These silhouettes differed from the ideal by 2, 4, and 6 units of BMI and by 0.

The example depicts the selection of the silhouette possessing BMI of 17 and WHR of 0. A second board then appeared on the screen. The changes made to BMI were by 2, 4, and 6 units and to WHR by 0. Because SDs of BMI and WHR in young Polish women amount to 3.

This means that the silhouettes selected for the pairwise presentation varied similarly in BMI and WHR in terms of naturally occurring variation in each trait. The direction of the departure from the ideal silhouette was always toward the mean value of the respective trait.

Each silhouette departing from the ideal in BMI was paired with each silhouette deviating in WHR, making 9 pairs altogether. If we denote the silhouettes departing progressively from the ideal in BMI and WHR as BMI1, BMI2, BMI3, WHR1, WHR2, and WHR3, these pairs were then BMI1—WHR1, BMI1—WHR2, BMI1—WHR3, BMI2—WHR1, BMI2—WHR2, BMI2—WHR3, BMI3—WHR1, BMI3—WHR2, and BMI3—WHR3.

The order of presentation of the pairs was randomly varied between the participants. The location of silhouettes constituting each pair on the left- and right-hand side of the screen was also randomized in each instance. Each participant was asked to mouse-click the more attractive silhouette in each pair.

After the mouse-clicking, both silhouettes disappeared, a fixation cross appeared in the center of the screen for 1 s, and then another pair of silhouettes was presented for evaluation.

As explained above, a systematic tendency to choose a silhouette departing from the ideal in one trait would indicate that the other trait is more important for attractiveness of female body. Statistical analyses were conducted using Statistica StatSoft 8. Figure 3 depicts the distribution of ideal BMI and ideal WHR, that is, the BMI and WHR values of the silhouette chosen as the most attractive.

The mean for the ideal BMI was As seen in Figure 3 , the preference for BMI was highly skewed and the minimal value of 15 was clearly the most frequently chosen as the most attractive by judges of either sex. Values of WHR on x axes have been multiplied by We, therefore, collapsed the choices made by participants of both sexes and in subsequent analyses did not control for the side of presentation of silhouettes on the screen or the order of presentation.

Figure 4 shows the frequency of choice of the WHR-manipulated rather than BMI-manipulated silhouette for each silhouette pair i. If BMI and WHR were equally important for attractiveness, the BMI-manipulated and WHR-manipulated silhouette should have been of equivalent attractiveness in pairs BMI1—WHR1, BMI2—WHR2, and BMI3—WHR3 the degree of BMI and WHR manipulation was comparable for these pairs only.

If so, the choice of the more attractive silhouette would have been random for these pairs, and the expected frequency of choice equal to 0. According to the binomial test, the P level for the hypothesis of random choice was 0. The deviation from the ideal in BMI was, therefore, more detrimental to attractiveness than an equivalent deviation in WHR, meaning that BMI was more important for female attractiveness than WHR.

B1, B2, B3, W1, W2, and W3 denote figures deviating from the ideal by 1, 2, or 3 steps in BMI or WHR, respectively see Figure 3 ; each step approximating to 0. Taken together, all the results suggest that BMI is twice as important as WHR for the attractiveness of the female body.

The frequencies for BMI1—WHR1, BMI2—WHR2, and BMI3—WHR3 pairs suggest that the predominance of BMI over WHR in determining attractiveness increased with the degree of manipulation.

We found that the most attractive value of WHR in women averaged 0. This agrees with most studies on the attractiveness of WHR reviewed in Singh and Singh This result also supports the claim that people prefer those values of WHR, which cue for good health of a women i. In the present study, women preferred significantly lower WHR than men, which suggests that women put a higher premium on small waist versus small hips compared with men.

Although some studies found no sex difference in the preferred female WHR see literature cited in Singh and Singh , some others, in accordance with our finding, reported a preference by women for a smaller waist than men Harrison ; Prantl and Gründl We also observed that men were more diversified in their preferences for WHR than women.

These sex differences dovetail with findings by Cornelissen et al. Women are expected to perceive the physical attractiveness of other females in a similar way to men so as to assess the mate value of competitors and to adjust their own mating and rivaling behaviors Dijkstra and Buunk ; Brewer et al.

However, because men rather than women choose females as sexual or romantic partners, it is expected that men should pay at least as much attention as women to cues for female mate value including WHR. One may speculate that the emphasis placed by women on the waist area is important to their assessment of other women not only as mating rivals but also as social allies or friends Thornhill and Grammer ; Bleske-Rechek and Lighthall Further investigation is warranted for sex differences in perception of the waist and hip region.

Although the most preferred values of WHR in the present study were in line with those of previous research, the observed preference for the BMI was unexpected. Although previous studies usually reported a preference for BMI values within the medical norm of Validation tests of stimuli used in this study proved the accurate perception of body weight for silhouettes with the intended BMI of 15, 17, and 19, and therefore the preference for underweight women obtained did not result from a fault in stimuli production or biased perception.

It is also unlikely that Poles would have a particularly strong preference for slim bodies because attractiveness assessments by Poles in a study that used female line drawings Swami, Rozmus-Wrzesinska, et al.

The incompatibility between the presently obtained preference for underweight women and the previously reported preference for women of normal weight may be due to methodological weaknesses in the previous studies.

Many of these studies involved line drawings of female silhouettes or digitally manipulated high-quality images, in which the precise BMI could not be determined or the body mass manipulation was confounded by breast size variation see Introduction for references. Many other studies relied on photographs of real women, which differed uncontrollably from one another in many features potentially influencing the attractiveness ratings.

These studies used fitting procedures to determine the most attractive value of BMI. For example, Tovée et al. However, a visual inspection of their empirical data suggests BMI values of 16—19 i.

The problem crops up repeatedly in many of the studies by Martin Tovée, Viren Swami, and colleagues see Swami and Tovée , and references therein. Yet, on the other hand, we stress that some studies based on images of real women did find a monotonic negative relationship between BMI and attractiveness, and women who possessed the lowest BMI even below 16 obtained the highest ratings Fan et al.

The present study is, to the best of our knowledge, the first that allowed participants to choose the most attractive silhouette from among a set of female images that were stringently manipulated in their stoutness with no confounding variation in, e.

We, therefore, believe the presently obtained preference for underweight women is credible. We observed that the BMI of the initially presented silhouette positively impacted on the BMI of the silhouette subsequently chosen as being the most attractive.

Such dependence of preferences on previously seen stimuli, or visual adaptation, has repeatedly been observed for faces see references in Little et al. The initial WHR, however, did not influence the subsequently chosen ideal WHR, which may suggest that people pay less attention to WHR of the seen woman than her BMI.

Interestingly, the initial WHR negatively impacted on the ideal BMI, but only for female judges. This suggests that high WHR wide waist gave the impression of a larger body mass to female participants who then compensated for this by lowering the BMI.

If so, it would again affirm the evidence that women pay more attention to the waist than men. From the perspective of sexual selection theory, it is surprising that severely underweight women, who are at elevated risk of many medical problems and shorter life duration see Introduction , are regarded the most attractive.

However, such preference may be a manifestation of an adaptive mating rule to prefer stoutness proportional to the risk of food shortage.

In accordance with this rule, relatively heavy women are preferred in most small-scale societies Brown and Konner ; Anderson et al. In contemporary developed countries, the food accessibility is at a level unprecedented in the evolutionary past, and this shifts the preference to very slender, albeit unhealthy, women.

This would seem, therefore, to be an example of a supernormal response to a supernormal stimulus Staddon , where the stimulus is the food availability and the response is the preference for slenderness.

This is also an example of an evolutionary trap, in which rapid environmental changes result in adaptive decision rules producing maladaptive behaviors Schlaepfer et al. For pairs in which deviations in BMI and WHR were equivalent, the WHR-manipulated silhouette was usually regarded as the more attractive.

This means that a departure from the ideal silhouette in BMI is more detrimental for attractiveness than in WHR. Therefore, BMI is more important for attractiveness of female body than WHR.

Choices for pairs in which BMI and WHR diverged from the ideal to different degrees showed that a departure in BMI is as detrimental for attractiveness as the redoubled departure in WHR.

In this sense, BMI is twice as important for female attractiveness as WHR. The conclusion of greater importance of BMI than WHR is also supported by the observation that the most preferred BMI depended on the BMI of the initially seen silhouette, whereas the initial WHR did not influence the choice of the most attractive WHR.

Specifically, the predominance was small for departures from the ideal less than 1 SD and considerable for larger ones. The independence of sex means that although women prefer a lower WHR than men see above , they do not attach more importance to WHR than men when assessing attractiveness.

Because we assumed the equivalence of BMI and WHR changes in terms of SD i. The conclusion of the greater role of BMI than WHR for female attractiveness can be questioned on the grounds that BMI variation is exaggerated in affluent societies because of the large percentage of overweight and obese people in such societies.

If so, the manipulation of our stimuli in BMI, based on its SD, was too large, leading to an overestimation of the role of BMI for attractiveness.

We then compared SDs of BMI and WHR in young women from Poland Pokrywka et al. The variation of WHR in nonpregnant, nonbreastfeeding Tsimané women aged 18—30 was similar to that in Polish women at the average age of In the main study, we obtained that a departure in BMI was as detrimental for attractiveness as the redoubled departure in WHR.

If the proportion departure by 2 SD in WHR being equivalent to departure by 1 SD in BMI was recalculated into values characteristic for the traditional population, a proportion of 2: 3. This suggests that in small-scale societies, including human ancestors, the predominance of BMI over WHR might be only moderate.

This numerical reasoning, however, requires empirical verification. Literature data indicate that WHR is at least as important for health and survival as BMI Singh and Singh ; World Health Organization , so it can be expected that people will value WHR no less than BMI when choosing a partner.

Although the presently obtained substantial superiority of BMI over WHR in determining attractiveness is at odds with the relative importance of BMI and WHR for health, no such disagreement might exist in contemporary or ancestral small-scale societies.

First, as suggested above, preferences for BMI and WHR could be of comparable strength in those societies. Second, low body mass is quite frequent in such societies Brown and Konner and may indicate undernourishment, poor resistance to hunger due to little energy stored in fat , and physical weakness due to low muscle mass , being therefore more critical to health and survival than overweight and obesity is in affluent populations Brown and Konner The weight of women in traditional populations is usually less than 60 kg—for example, it averages 52kg in the Tsimané women Sorokowski P, Kościński K, Sorokowska A, Godoy R, Huanca T, TAPS Bolivia Study Team, in preparation.

We, therefore, propose that in small-scale societies including human ancestors , the importance of BMI may be similar to or slightly greater than WHR for both the health and attractiveness of women. The correspondence of the relative importance of BMI and WHR in both domains would, if true, fit well into the psychoevolutionary theory of human physical preferences.

Men and women prefer underweight, and frequently severely underweight, women. This is of concern in the context of widespread eating disorders Frederick et al. Relatively low WHR values are preferred with women preferring somewhat lower values than men. Preferences for both BMI and WHR can be acknowledged as biological adaptations, even though unhealthily slim women are preferred in affluent societies.

Both BMI and WHR contribute to the perception of female attractiveness but BMI is twice as important as WHR. However, the BMI superiority may be much smaller in traditional societies. Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health , plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise , pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

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Beyond the usual suspects for healthy resolutions. January 1, By Matthew Solan , Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD , Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing A person's waist-to-hip ratio may be a better tool than body mass index BMI for predicting chronic health problems, according to a study published online Sept.

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Sign Me Up. About the Author. If a person has a high WHR and is carrying excess weight around their waist, they may be concerned about the related health risks. To reduce these risks, it is a good idea to try to lose weight.

The best way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than are burned, usually by eating less and exercising more. Eating a healthful diet, reducing portion size, and exercising several times a week is a good place to start. A study found that a diet high in fruit and dairy and low in white bread, processed meat, margarine, and soft drinks may help reduce abdominal fat.

A doctor or nutritionist can provide further advice on how to lose weight. People may take inaccurate measurements or make a mistake when doing the calculation. In addition, if someone has a high BMI or is less than 5 feet tall, their WHR may be less meaningful. It is important to note that a WHR is not designed to measure the health of children and should only be used for adults.

However, as a WHR can be measured inaccurately, it should not be relied on as a sole measure of obesity or health risk. Talking to the doctor about weight and any associated health risks is always the best way to get a more complete picture.

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Thank you for visiting Nutrient timing for athletes. You are using a browser Recovery training adaptations with limited support for CSS. Waistt-o-hip obtain the best experience, we recommend you use waist-to-hhip more up ratil date browser or turn off compatibility Nutrient timing for athletes in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, ratioo ensure continued support, we Vegan sunflower seeds displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. It has been suggested that the preference for low WHRs evolved because low WHR provided a cue to female reproductive status and health, and therefore to her reproductive value. The present study aimed to test whether WHR might indeed be a reliable cue to female reproductive history with lower WHRs indicating lower number of children. Previous studies showed such a relationship for modern and industrialized populations, but it has not been investigated in natural fertility, indigenous, more energy constrained populations facing greater trade-offs in energy allocation than do modern societies. Waist-to-hip waist-tk-hip, also known Mind-body connection for focus waist-hip ratio, is the circumference Body image and waist-to-hip ratio anx waist divided by the circumference of the hips. People Bodu carry rtaio weight Recovery training adaptations their middle than their hips may be at a higher risk of developing certain health conditions. This article explains how to calculate WHR and includes a chart to help people understand their results. It also looks at how WHR ratio affects health, how a person can improve their ratio, and what else they should consider. To find out their WHR, a person needs to measure both the circumference of their waist and their hips. Circumference means the distance around something.

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The Physique Women Find Most Attractive!

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