What is the Ideal Female Body Shape and Why?

What is the ideal female body shape? It depends if you're asking a man or a woman.

For women, the ideal will be a fashion model's body, a tall, willowy body with a modest bustline, a small waist-to-hip ratio, and thin, muscled thighs. According to women's ideal of the perfect female body, she should be 70 inches tall, have a BMI of 16.5 (underweight BMI), and have a hip size that is just 46 percent larger than her waist size.

A composite of celebrity body parts showing the differences of men & women's ideas of the perfect female body

Men, however, will generally prefer women with curvier, hourglass bodies. They prefer women with larger breasts, a small waist and larger hips and thighs. The most attractive waist size is one that is 60 to 70 percent of the hip size, according to studies that included men from all over the world. In fact, looking at curvy women caused the pleasure centres of men's brains to light up, in a response not dissimilar to the effects of cocaine and heroin. No wonder that men spend over $3 billion annually on pictures, magazines, videos and websites featuring women with small waists and curvy hips such as those who become Playboy Playmates.

What makes 'childbearing hips' so irresistible to men? Most men would not be aware of how evolution has designed them to prefer women that have the greatest ability to conceive, birth and raise children with the best chance of survival. Besides the fact that wider hips means a woman is more likely to survive childbirth, a small waist and curvy lower body also means that a woman has the right kind of fat for a healthy pregnancy. Fat stored in the hips and thighs is the kind that stores DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that is the most abundant in the human brain.

This graphic (below) from Psychology Today shows the difference in the body shape preferences of men and women. While the fashion model figure on the far left exemplifies the ideal of women, the curvy Playmate figure in the centre is the mens' ideal. Modern diets that place emphasis on heavily processed foods tend to be poor in omega-3, causing women to crave more fatty food, leading to a body shape that more closely resembles the one on the right.

The more DHA a woman possesses, the better she is able to have babies who are smarter and healthier, able to face and survive more of life's challenges and pass on their own genes to future generations. In fact, fat stored in the lower body area is rich in the DHA crucial for the proper development of a baby's brain, stored specifically by the body through the years to support pregnancy and lactating. This is evidenced by the fact that hip and thigh fat is very difficult to shift despite fluctuations in fat in other areas of the body, and is only reduced during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

In countries where mothers' milk have higher levels of DHA, children tend to excel at tests of academic ability. Countries such as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are among those that have the highest levels of omega-3 fat intake, and the percentage of women with slender hourglass figures is very high. Japanese women, in particular, have four times the amount of DHA in their blood compared to American women. Their children tend to have very low incidences of obesity, and score higher in academic tests.

There is also evidence that women with wider hips also tend to be of greater intelligence, as her own brain benefits from the abundance of DHA in her body. A curvier figure also has some correlation with improved EQ scores, making them not only better mothers in the beginning stages of childbirth and early childhood, but makes them better at raising happier, well-adjusted children as well. Is it any wonder that evolution has designed men to prefer women with this type of body shape? In terms of biology, which body shape would you consider to be the most ideal?

--- Cosmetic Medicine, MD

Dr. Liow Tiong Sin is an aesthetic practitioner who practices in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, Malaysia. He has more than 12 years of expertise with non-surgical cosmetic treatments, and conducts training courses for other doctors from all around Asia. 
To connect with Dr. Liow, Like Cosmedmd's Facebook page, visit Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre's website at http://www.beverlywilshiremedical.com or drop him an email at cosmedmd@gmail.com

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