What Is the Ideal Body?


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the ideal body seems to fit quite nicely into this category. Each person has a different opinion of what is attractive and what is not; what is ideal and what is not. While a very subjective term, it is possible to identify what the average person feels makes up the ideal body. To begin this search for perfection, we will start with your BMI.

How To Calculate Your BMI

  • BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a calculation using your height and weight to determine your overall general health. To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight by 703. Take this number and divide it by your height in inches. Take that number and divide it by your height once again. This number represents your BMI. Example: If you are 5 feet 8 inches and weigh 160 pounds, your calculation would look like this: 160 x 703 = 112,480; 112,480 divided by 68 = 1654.12; 1654.12 divided by 68 = 24.32.

What Is An Average BMI?

  • The average male in the United States is 5-9 and weighs 182 pounds. This gives him a BMI of 26.87. An average female in the United States is 5-4 and weighs 152 pounds, for a BMI of 26.08. The average of the two is 26.47. According to the American Heart Association, anything over 25.0 is considered overweight. Anything over 30 is obese, and over 40 is extreme obesity. A range of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a normal BMI.

What Is The Ideal BMI?

  • The University College London and Newcastle University conducted a survey of what body types men found attractive. While the actual body types varied greatly, researchers found that no matter what element of the body each person found attractive, all bodies judged to be attractive had a common element -- their BMI. It was found that the women labeled as having attractive bodies all had nearly the same BMI. According to this research, the perfect BMI is 20.85. As a comparison, the average woman -- 5-4 and 152 pounds -- has a BMI of 26.08. For that same 5-4 woman to be considered ideal, she would need to weigh 122 pounds. To be ideal, the average American woman would need to lose 30 pounds.

Waist to Hip Ratio

  • Nearly 75 percent of the decision process on the ideal body centered on BMI. The second leading factor was a woman's hip to waist ratio. Studies have found the most desirable hip to waist ratio is 0.70. To achieve this, your waist needs to be 70 percent the size of your hip measurement. Example: If your hip measurement is 36 inches, then your waist measurement would need to be 25.2 to be considered ideal.

Other Factors To Consider

  • The only other factor participants of the study listed as being of primary importance was the length of a woman's legs. It is interesting the fashion industry uses excessively slim models to display their clothing, yet this is not what men find attractive. While the runway model may be a size 1, the average male is more likely to be attracted to a woman who wears a size 12 and has a few more curves. Not surprising, women think slimmer is better and believe a size 8 is the ideal size.

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