Too skinny just don’t work. Curvy women have smarter kids.
Researchers have known about this ideal for a while. A lot of media sources have cited a recent study, saying that women with big butts have smarter kids. That’s just a headline, an “attention-grabber.” Simply, they aren’t going too deep into the research. The aim isn’t to have just a big butt – it’s to have a healthy hip to waist ratio, specifically, a “curvy” or “pear-shaped” figure. This figure, a body where a healthy amount of fat is embraced and not shunned, is proven to produce healthier children. But why, you ask?
Well, lets talk about gluteofemoral fat, or, butt fat. Fat in the rear is chock full of of omega-3 fatty acids, critical compounds that enrich brain function and improve intelligence. Omega-3 is critical to brain development, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy. Unfortunately, fat around the midsection is high in omega-6 acids, which aren’t too helpful. This type of fat is proven to improve brain function in the mother as well as her offspring.
A study in 2010 examined more than 16,000 women of all sizes. The curvy mamas with the healthy waist to hip ratio routinely outscored their more slender counterparts in cognitive ability (thinking, reasoning, and/or remembering). The same result was found for the offspring of the women – kids from the curvier moms were smarter!
The ideal woman in an Ancient Herculaneum fresco. True beauty!
This makes biological sense as well. A study conducted by New Zealand anthropologist Barnaby Dixon and his colleagues found that the ideal waist to hip ratio is .7 – ideal in the sense that it’s what men find most attractive. This ratio is considered most biologically desirable – men have an ingrained desire for this ratio because women in this range produce smarter and healthier children. This biological response to beauty makes sense. As a result, men are attracted to the “curvy” and “hourglass” figure. In general, the lower the ratio the higher the intelligence in the woman and the offspring.
Waist to hip ratio – the narrowest point at the waist divided by the widest point at the hips
Women with lower waist to hip ratios have higher cognitive ability, as measured by performance on four cognitive tests…
…there is still a significant residual effect, supporting the view that women with low waist to hip ratios provide both genes and materials (essential fatty acids) for neurodevelopment.
The data reviewed here suggest that, whatever else it might signal, waist to hip ratio indicates critical resources for brain development.
If you are interested, heres how to calculate your own waist to hip ratio
1. Stand with your stomach relaxed
2. Find the narrowest (smallest) point of your waist and measure in inches
3. Find the widest (biggest) point of your hips and measure in inches
4. Divide the measurement from step 2 by the measurement from step 3. This is your waist to hip ratio.
Too skinny just doesn’t make sense for your health. Too much fat is bad. Too little fat is bad. Research shows that a healthy ratio is better for you and your kids.
So go ahead. Embrace those curves. Your kids will thank you!