The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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More to beauty than what beholder sees

Scientists have found the true measure of beauty after conducting the first three-dimensional study of women’s bodies.

Evolutionary biologists believe some women are more attractive because they signal greater reproductive health and fertility, revealing a greater ability to pass on their genes — and those of the men they attract.

In the past, researchers thought that the waist-hip ratio and the body-mass index were the key measures of female beauty. However, this was not tested with 3D images, an omission dealt with in a recent study of 31 body shapes.

The 3D figures were rated by both men and women in the study by Prof Jintu Fan and colleagues at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing, of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The results, published in the Royal Society Journal, Proceedings B, show that, apart from a woman’s head, the body volume divided by the height to the power of two, defined as Volume Height Index (VHI), “is the most important measure of attractiveness”.

But this is not the whole story, according to Prof Fan. Otherwise, “tubular” women would be more attractive than those with hour-glass figures. To fine tune their judgments, viewers used other body proportions, the most important of which were the ratio of waist height over the chin height.

This provides a measure of the relative size of legs: the longer the legs, relative to body size, the more attractive the woman.

An hourglass figure also counts, since the ratio of waist over hip plays a role as well.

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