Okay girls, relax, 20.85 is now the perfect body!

If new research is to be believed, and most women will!, the ever growing millions of women who nip, tuck, plump and stitch in search of the body beautiful could be wasting their money.

A team of British scientists says that the secret of an attractive figure lies not in emulating Pammy's bust or Kylie's bum, but in the age-old formula of staying trim.

The researchers have discovered the perfect body mass index, the standard measure of height against weight, for any woman looking to attract a mate is a score of 20.85, that they say, is more influential than any of the other features on display.

Their research shows that men are attracted to a certain body mass because it is associated with better health, which conflicts with previous research which has said that waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is the most important factor, with curvaceous shapes corresponding to high fertility.

But now these results from the team at University College London and University of Newcastle upon Tyne, clearly illustrate that BMI is even more critical, and accounts for 75 per cent of body attractiveness, while waist-hip ratio, leg-length, and other body parts made up the rest.

Psychologist Viren Swami of UCL, who helped to lead the study, says their findings show that BMI is a better predictor of attractiveness than curves.

Apparently they found that as the images became more curvaceous, but with a higher BMI, they were seen as less attractive.

The popularity of curvaceous singers such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce has been credited with starting a new market in "buttock augmentation", and the UK has seen an astonishing growth in cosmetic plastic surgery.

This research involved nearly 700 men and women in Britain and Malaysia.

Participants were shown images of real women in five BMI categories, from emaciated (below 15); to obese (over 30), and were then asked to score how beautiful they considered each one.

In the UK, the most attractive BMI was found to be 20.85 for both men and women, while in less developed countries, it was slightly higher.

Interestingly, the results also show that ratings of attractiveness fell away very quickly either side of this figure, with an overweight woman having half the attractiveness of a woman with the perfect BMI. The fall in attraction rating was even sharper for very thin women.

Mr Swami says that BMI accounted for approximately 12 times more variance than WHR, which suggests that BMI is a considerably stronger determinant of bodily attractiveness than WHR.

He says this is consistent with the fact that successful female fashion and glamour models all fall within a narrow BMI range.

They believe that men are attracted to the perfect BMI because it is a sign of good reproductive potential.

Another view is that BMI is the first measure used by men to assess a potential partner, while another theory suggests the preferred shapes in the study simply reflect media images rather than real life.

Research on Miss America contestants and Playboy centrefolds has shown that the ideal became increasingly thinner over a 20-year period, while women actually became 4 per cent heavier.

The study is published in the current edition of the journal Body Image.

Posted in: Women's Health News

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  1. carol carol Canada says:

    I am 6 ft 1. My BMI was 20.85 when I was 15 years old and still developing.

    Your research is spotty. When I finished growing, I was a good 10-20 lbs over that figure. Men are attracted to 13 year olds true. Does that mean a 35 year old woman should turn back the clock?

    I don't favour obesity, but there is more than the 'potentiality for
    childbearing' to be considered in the attraction factor.

  2. Erin Erin United Kingdom says:

    Well, for one, your chart is way off. I am 20 years old, 4'11 and 8 stone excactly (making me a UK dress size 8, US 4). According to your diagram, I am on the heavy edge of being a healthy weight. However, I have done various online BMI calculators which tell me my BMI is 22.6. Well below the indicated 25.

    Dodgy diagram leads me to think the research is dodgy too.

  3. Sunflowerz Sunflowerz United Kingdom says:

    I concur I am 5ft 5 weigh 56 kilos and according to this I'm bordering on the healthy to overweight. Yet I'm a perfectly proportioned size 8.. gimme a break.

  4. Sunflowerz Sunflowerz United Kingdom says:

    Oh and being 39, according to other statistics i'm in the 10th percentile, which is rather more accurate!

  5. Del Miale Del Miale United States says:

    This chart isn't accurate. As others have pointed out, this chart shows BMIs that are WELL within the healthy range as being borderline overweight, and it shows my BMI (19.5) as being middle of the healthy range, when it's actually in the lower end of healthy.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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