Last month, Kim Kardashian's naked Paper magazine spread garnered some serious attention. Just what it is about the combination of a tiny waist and a large, round bottom that men find so attractive?
Well, it's instinct based on genetics and survival, of course.
Evolutionary scientists explain it as "the perfect waist-hip ratio." Women with narrow waists -- a low waist-hip ratio -- have higher fertility, according to a 2004 study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. This body type signals fertility and health because these women have higher levels of the hormones necessary to get pregnant, researcher Dr. Grazyna Jasienska explains.
Live Science says research has revealed that men prefer a waist-hip ratio of 0.7 or lower when looking for a mate: Playboy centerfolds tend to have a ratio of 0.68.
Psychologist Devendra Singh said the hip ratio is a signal of whether the person will have enough energy to care for an offspring. The distribution of fat on the body is determined by sex hormones. The desirable waist-hip ratio indicates a woman is producing the proper amount and mixture of estrogen. And studies have shown that women in the ideal ratio range have an easier time conceiving and are less susceptible to cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
A separate study found curvy hips to be associated with intelligence. Published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, the 2007 study found that women with ample backsides scored better on tests -- and so did their children. The researchers speculated that fat around the hips and thighs holds higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the growth of a fetus' brain while in utero.
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