The Surprising Reason Why Men Find Curvy Women More Attractive

September 11, 2012

It appears that men’s preference for more curvy women has quite a lot to do with the fact that curvy figures historically have possessed more of the healthy omega-3 fatry acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is essential for proper brain development in children.

An article in the August 2012 issue of Psychology Today explains that men “know” something significant about women’s bodies that women don’t.  And it all has to do with nature’s mandate to produce children with great survival skills.  In fact, women are usually more like men’s ideals than they realize, and losing weight to meet the standard set by the fashion and modeling industries may not make them any more attractive to men.  ThinkStock.com

Men rate women as most attractive when they have a waist size that is 60-70% of their hip size.  To put things in perspective: The typical US undergrad has a waist that is 75% of her hip size. The average Playboy playmate is 53%, and the average fashion model is 46%. 

How does an “hourglass” figure relate to a woman’s success as a mother?  It has a lot to do with intelligence and body fat, which has everything to do with what you eat and where it comes from. 

The total amount of fat a human female carries is seven times that of other animals, and much more than men.  And the fat stored in women’s hips, butt, and legs is “protected” from weight fluctuations. Only during the last few months of pregnancy and while nursing do women start breaking down this lower-body fat, making it exclusively available to the growing fetus or infant.

Babies have an organ that is seven times larger than in other animals – the brain.  And it grows fastest in the first two years of life, and it only does so with ample supplies of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.  Guess where women’s bodies tend to stash DHA? In the hips and legs. 

American children rank 31st out of 64 nations in tests of academic ability. The highest scores are in places like Japan, where women have slender hourglass figures and have four times the amount of DHA in their blood.  American women are on average 20 pounds heavier than they were 40 years ago, and 40 pounds heavier than Japanese women of the same height.

Our modern eating habits may explain why we're packing on the pounds. With modern food processing techniques, the supply of DHA in our food supply has declined as we’ve become saturated with processed vegetable oils and animal products from animals fed grain and corn rather than grass.  As a result, in general, women’s body fat contains a lower percentage of DHA than previously in human history. However, developing babies still need the same amount.  So a woman’s body has no choice but to store more fat to ensure the proper amount of DHA is available. 

But that doesn't mean you should take drastic measures with your weight. The rise of the modern fashion model with the super-skinny, straight line body lacking curves has artificially skewed many women’s ideals of what is attractive.  The average fashion model has a general lack of curves that often leads to comparisons with the body type of a pre-teen boy.  The effect of fashion has affected women’s thinking:  Women are much less satisfied with their bodies after viewing images of super-skinny models.  However, men consistently prefer a curvier, fuller look that is nothing like the “ideal” presented by the fashion industry!

A better body that is both healthy and more attractive is – as usual – available through making better food choices.  Eating foods higher in DHA means your body needs to store less fat in order to have enough DHA. If we don’t get enough of what our bodies need, they tell us to eat more irrespective of real hunger.  

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Jonathan Ross — fitness expert for Discovery Fit & Health and creator of Aion Fitness — was voted Exercise TV's "Top Trainer" and named in Men's Journal magazine's list of Top 100 Trainers in America. His personal experiences with obesity — "800 pounds of parents" — directly inspired his fitness career. His ability to bring fitness to those who need it the most has made him a two-time Personal Trainer of the Year Award-Winner (ACE and IDEA). His book, Abs Revealed, is filled with cutting-edge exercises in a modern, intelligent approach to abdominal training. His leadership and fresh perspectives on fitness earn him praise as a frequent go-to source of credible fitness information.

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