The Waist to Hip Ratio As a Health and Fitness Indicator
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The Waist to Hip Ratio As a Health and Fitness Indicator

The waist to hip ratio is doesn't just determine curves or attractiveness - it is a valuable measure of health and fitness too. Read on to know more about the uses and importance of the waist to hip ratio or WHR.

When it comes to the primal need to propagate the species, humans pass on instincts deeply ingrained in our genes. These instincts are apparent in the prevalent “standard of beauty” that we live by nowadays. Though some parts of this standard might have cultural and even economical bases, most of it are deeply rooted in parallel with our survival instincts. Take our sense of a proper body proportions for example. An epitome of an attractive person is always someone who has the right curves at the right places.

Waist to Hip Ratio and Attractiveness

At first glance, women who have slimmer waistlines are always the most gorgeous of the bunch. The same holds true for men. Although men are not expected to have curvaceous hips, prominent shoulders and buttocks always get the thumbs up.

Although some might have the notion that men are more likely to find women with amply endowed bosoms as more attractive, studies lean in another direction. It turns out that it's all in the hips. Studies reveal that men favor slimmer waist to hip ratios (WHR) over bust to waist ratios. This means that men are more attracted to curvy hips than ample bosoms. A good explanation for this could be that those with smaller WHRs have been found to have higher levels of fertility - in other words, a smaller WHR means that a man's genes can be more successfully passed on to the next generation. It sounds biologically deterministic, but the evolutionary instinct to propagate the species has always driven us at some unconscious level.

To get into specifics, men find women with a WHR in the range of 0.67 to 1.18 really striking. Women, on the other hand, get turned on by those near a WHR of 0.8 to 1. But don’t forget to also focus on those shoulder muscles, men. Women have their eyes locked on those, too.

Waist to Hip Ratio and Body Shapes

Although instincts can’t be denied, the eyes can be fooled. This is especially important in maximizing your body shape’s potential when playing the love game.

Women who hold more fat around their waists have apple-shaped bodies . Pear-shaped women, on the other hand, tend to carry more weight around their hips. Based on the "ideal" WHRs, pear-shaped women are generally more attractive to men than apple-shaped ones. To make the most out of this factoid, women with an apple shape can try slimming tops and blouses matched with hip-maximizing jeans or flouncy, billowy skirts to hide their waists and make their hips look bigger. Pear-shaped women, on the other hand, can wear bottoms that proudly emphasize their booty. 

Waist to Hip Ratio and Health

Your WHR and body shape can also be a marker of the state of your health, too. Women who have a WHR of 0.7 are found to have lesser risks of facing diabetes, ovarian cancer and cardiovascular ailments. Likewise men who have a WHR of 0.9 are more than likely to avoid testicular and prostate cancer.

Although WHR is a useful health marker, it is not the only one with importance. In determining obesity, for example, the number of those deemed obese might increase three times over if solely based on WHR. A better indicator in this case would be the body mass index or BMI. Body fat percentage is also an important measure of health. Some even claim that body fat percentage is more accurate in gauging one’s fitness level as it is not tethered to an individual’s height. BMI and WHR however are still more popular—and more accessible—indicators when it comes to measuring fitness and health.


Carey, Bjorn. "The Rules of Attraction in the Game of Love." LiveScience, 13 Feb 2006. Web. 10 Dec 2010.

"Body fat percentage." Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Dec 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2010.

"Waist-hip ratio." Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Nov 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2010.

"Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator." University of Maryland Medical System, n.d. Web. 10 Dec 2010.

Primary Image Credit:

"Small.jpg." IstockPhotos, n.d.

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Comments (2)
Ranked #2 in Healthy Living

Small waistline are indeed attractive, good work Andi.

Vote up.