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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Mar;26(3):522-530. doi: 10.1002/oby.22092.

Beauty and the Body of the Beholder: Raters' BMI Has Only Limited Association with Ratings of Attractiveness of the Opposite Sex.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
3
Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.
4
Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Federal University Ndufu Alike lkwo, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
5
National Energy Center of Nuclear Science and Technology (CNESTEN), Joint Research Unit of Nutrition and Food, CNESTEN-Ibn Tofail University, Rabat, Morocco.
6
Department of Clinical Nutrition, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
7
Medical Physiology Department, College of Health Science, School of Medicine, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.
8
Biochemistry Department, Central Health Laboratory Services, Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, Port Louis, Mauritius.
9
Center of Molecular Medicine, Institute of Pathophysiology and Immunology, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria.
10
Laboratory of Nutrition, Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Dakar, Senegal.
11
Department of Biology, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA.
12
Department of Sports Medicine, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, USA.
13
Centre of Excellence for Nutrition, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
14
Family and Community Health Unit, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, Texas, USA.
15
Department of Humanities in Medicine, College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas A&M University, Bryan, Texas, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Assortative mating for adiposity increases the genetic burden on offspring, but its causes remain unclear. One hypothesis is that people who have high adiposity find other people with obesity more physically attractive than lean people.

METHODS:

The attractiveness of sets of images of males and females who varied in adiposity were rated by opposite sex subjects (559 males and 340 females) across 12 countries.

RESULTS:

There was tremendous individual variability in attractiveness ratings. For female attractiveness, most males favored the leanest subjects, but others favored intermediate fatness, some were indifferent to body composition, and others rated the subjects with obesity as most attractive. For male images rated by females, the patterns were more complex. Most females favored subjects with low levels of adiposity (but not the lowest level), whereas others were indifferent to body fatness or rated the images depicting individuals with obesity as the most attractive. These patterns were unrelated to rater BMI. Among Caucasian males who rated the images of the thinnest females as being more attractive, the magnitude of the effect depended on rater BMI, indicating limited "mutual attraction."

CONCLUSIONS:

Individual variations in ratings of physical attractiveness were broadly unrelated to rater BMI and suggest that mutual attraction is an unlikely explanation for assortative mating for obesity.

PMID:
29464908
DOI:
10.1002/oby.22092
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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