The media is often blamed for putting pressure on females to be super slim – but are men really drawn to skinny women? Physical attraction is partly driven by fitness and the ability to produce healthy offspring – but while thin women are less likely to suffer from diseases like diabetes and heart conditions, fatter women have historically been better placed to withstand famine. Scientists used these fat verses thin factors to calculate optimum fitness and concluded that men should find women most attractive with a body mass index (BMI) of 24-24.8, the high side of normal weight. However, when men were shown images of female figures, like the examples pictured, a lower BMI of around 19 was preferred. This corresponds to the average BMI of 18–20-year-old women, the age of maximum fertility, demonstrating that the model of attractiveness must also take youthfulness into account.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.