It was already known that men find curvy women more attractive and that they live longer. Now research suggests that women with an hourglass figure are brighter and have cleverer children, too.
The study found that women with large hips and small waists are more intelligent than those with either “apple-shaped” or linear bodies.
The paper, to be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour , suggests that such women give birth to more intelligent children - possibly a result of higher levels of omega3 fatty acids on the hips.
The researchers believe that the results offer a new explanation for why many men find curvy women more alluring. Nigella Lawson, the cookery presenter and Oxford University graduate, has one of Britain’s most famous hourglass figures, while Rachel Weisz, the curvy actress who won an Oscar for her role in The Constant Gardener, completed an English degree at Cambridge University while embarking on the first stages of her acting career.
In the research, scientists at the Universities of Pittsburgh and California, Santa Barbara, used data from a study of 16,000 women and girls, which collected details of their body measurements and their scores in cognitive tests. They found that those women with a greater difference between the waist and hips scored significantly higher on the tests, as did their children.
Such women are not necessarily skinny. What is important is that their waist should be smaller than their hips, with the ideal ratio being between 0.6 and 0.7.