Evidence That Really Matters

Shapely centrefolds? Temporal change in body measures: trend analysis

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7378.1447 (Published 21 December 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1447
  1. Martin Voracek, research resident (martin.voracek@akh-wien.ac.at)a,
  2. Maryanne L Fisher, PhD candidateb
  1. a Department of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Statistics and Documentation Branch, University of Vienna Medical School, AKH/Währinger Gürtel 18-20, A-1090 Wien, Austria,
  2. b Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
  1. Correspondence to: M Voracek

    Body mass index (weight (kg)/(height (m)2) and waist:hip ratio in women are linked to fertility, endocrine status, risk of major diseases, and longevity.13 Health related optimums for body mass index (20 or slightly lower2) and waist:hip ratio (0.7 or slightly lower3) are also maximally sexually attractive to men. 1 3 According to evolutionary research, these attractiveness optimums reflect evolved optimal design and thus should not be subject to temporal change.3

    This assumption is not consonant with the decline in the optimally attractive body mass index that has occurred in the past few decades, as exemplified by fashion models depicted in the media. With …

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