Another reason to love curves

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By GARY CLELAND THE DAILY TELEGRAPH in London
  • Published 12.11.07
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London, Nov. 12: Nigella Lawson’s voluptuous curves have given her a legion of male admirers, but a new academic study suggests that her appeal, and that of other curvy women, is based on more than the purely physical.

It is already known that curvaceous women live longer and that men find them more attractive but the new research suggests that they are also cleverer.

The study, to be published this week, shows that men who admire women with hourglass figures do so because they are more intelligent and, therefore, produce more intelligent children than waif-like women or those of “apple-shaped” proportions.

The case of Lawson appears to bear out the findings. Possessing perhaps Britain’s most famous hourglass figure, the cookery presenter is also an Oxford graduate.

Rachel Weisz, the naturally curvy Oscar-winning actress, completed an English degree at Cambridge before she headed for Hollywood.

The scientists, from the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Pittsburgh, concluded that women with lower waist-to-hip ratios (WHR) produced children with better intellectual abilities.

They found that a woman’s hips and thighs contained omega-3 fatty acids, which help nurture both mother and baby’s brains during pregnancy. Fat around the waist, however, contains higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which does not help brain growth.

“Shapely hips and thighs hold essential nutrients that nurse brains and could produce smart kids, too,” said one researcher, Steven Gaulin, of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

His colleague, William Lassek, from the University of Pittsburgh, said: “Men respond because it’s reproductively important.”

Scientific studies have consistently demonstrated that men through the ages have found women with hourglass figures more attractive. A study published this year found that as far back as the ancient Egyptians men have sought out curvaceous women. However, the reason for the attraction has never been conclusively proven.