Ladies, if you find that you’re having to let out your belt a notch or two, you’re not alone.
The figure of the average beautiful woman is now more likely to resemble an apple than a pear, research shows. In other words, she is round around the middle. In contrast, the pear shapes, such as Kate Winslet, who once predominated, have well-defined waists but generous hips and bottoms.
The shift from apples to pears came to light in a series of ‘health MOTs’ carried out on tens of thousands of men and women. Most of the female members of Nuffield Health’s gyms put through their paces had waistlines that were almost two inches bigger than the 31½-inch limit recommended for good health.
And the average waist to hip ratio for the 24,025 women surveyed was 0.83. Anything above 0.8 suggests an apple-shaped figure, denoted by generous waist and slim hips. A waist measurement of under 80 per cent of the hip circumference is generally considered healthy, with the wasp-waisted ratio of 0.7 that was common in the 1950s termed ideal. And not just for health – studies also show that men find these proportions to be the most appealing.
Her chances of starting a family may also suffer, with fat stored around the middle disrupting the normal rhythm of the ovaries, making it harder to conceive. Nuffield Health’s Dr Davina Deniszczyc said: ‘While waist size may seem like a cosmetic issue, this isn’t about women fitting into their skinny jeans, rather it’s an important indicator of overall health and wellbeing, particularly when taken into account with other health measurements.’
However, those whose waist is bigger than advised can take heart from the fact that fat from the tummy is usually the first to go when we diet. While women may be wobbly around the waist, men seem to be doing slightly better. The average waist size of the men measured was 36½ inches – and so within the 37in limit. However, it should be noted that the survey was not nationally representative, with all of those taking part new or existing members of a gym.