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Amanda D Golden Eddy, Jessie J Peissig; The Relationships Between Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR), Waist-to-Stature Ratio (WSR), and Body Mass Index (BMI) on Ratings of Women’s Body Attractiveness and Health. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):155c. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.155c.
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Evolutionary psychologists hypothesize that men’s mate preferences for attractive and healthy women are based on waist-to-hip ratio [WHR], waist-to-stature ratio [WSR], and body mass index [BMI] because these characteristics are informative of fertility (i.e. estrogen levels) (Jasienska, et al., 2004); however these hypotheses are largely unsubstantiated (Jones, et al., 2018). In the current study, participants provided saliva samples, at the same time and day, over four weeks, which were sent to SALIMETRICS to be analyzed. Participants’ body characteristics (e.g. waist, hip, height, and weight) were measured to calculate their WHRs, WSRs, and BMIs. Photos of their bodies, excluding their heads, were presented to a separate set of participants, who were randomly assigned to rate the photos using either an attractiveness or health Likert-like scale from 1–7, with 1 being very unattractive or very unhealthy and 7 being very attractive or very healthy. This study revealed a significant positive correlation between attractiveness ratings and health ratings (r = .895, p < .000). This relationship has been established for faces but not for bodies (Thornhill & Moller, 1997). Preliminary correlations between health ratings and estradiol concentrations showed nonsignificant positive correlations (r = .098, p > .739). Although non-significant, the correlation between attractiveness ratings and estradiol concentrations is higher (r = .303, p > .292), suggesting that with more participants this may reach significance. Moreover, WSR (r = −.589, p < .027), and BMI (r = −.617, p < .019) showed a significant negative correlation to attractiveness ratings, however WHR was not significantly correlated to attractiveness ratings (r = −.428, p > .127). Thus, these results suggest that WSR and BMI are better correlates of attractiveness than WHR.
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