Female Mate Value at a Glance: Relationship of Waist-to-Hip Ratio to Health, Fecundity and Attractiveness

Bernhard Fink bernhard.fink at aon.at
Mon Jan 13 14:27:42 EST 2003

Female Mate Value at a Glance: Relationship of Waist-to-
Hip Ratio to Health, Fecundity and Attractiveness


Neuroendocrinology Letters,2002; 23(suppl 4):81-91

A fundamental assumption of adaptive explanations of female
attractiveness is that bodily features that males judge as
attractive reliably signal youthfulness, healthiness, and fertility
or female mate value. One of the bodily features, waist-to-hip ratio
(WHR), is a reliable indicator of a female's reproductive age,
sex hormone profile, parity and risk for various diseases. Systematic
variation in the size of WHR also systematically affects the
judgment of female attractiveness, healthiness, and youthfulness.
This article summarizes recent findings about the relationship
between female's WHR and various factors affecting reproductive
capability and risk for diseases. Research on the relationship
between attractiveness and WHR is discussed in light of some
methodological objections to previous research. Finally, cross-
cultural and historical data are presented that suggest that the
relationship between WHR and female attractiveness is not culture-
specific and not inculcated by modern Western fashion dictates or


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