Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The claim that men prefer women with low waist-to-hip ratios (WHR) has been vigorously disputed. We examine self-report data from 359 primiparous Polish women (with normal singleton births and healthy infants) and show that WHR correlates with at least one component of a woman's biological fitness (her first child's birth weight, a variable that significantly affects infant survival rates). However, a woman's Body Mass Index (BMI) is a better predictor of her child's neonatal weight in small-bodied women (<54 kg). The failure to find a preference for low WHR in some traditional populations may thus be a consequence of the fact that, even in western populations, body mass is a better predictor of fitness in those cases characterized by low maternal body weight.

Original publication




Journal article


Human Nature

Publication Date





164 - 177