New research reveals the average amount of weight men and women need to lose in order for others to find them more attractive.
To find the answer, researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto showed participants a collection of digitally created photos of male and female faces that looked between 20 and 40 years old. Each face was given different amounts of facial fat and then placed in a sequence of increasing scale. The study’s participants were then asked to determine which faces were heavier-looking from randomly drawn pairs of images.
“Women and men of average height need to gain or lose about three and a half and four kilograms, or about eight and nine pounds, respectively, for anyone to see it in their face, but they need to lose about twice as much for anyone to find them more attractive,” said lead researcher Nicholas Rule.
The researchers determined a change of at least 1.33 kg/m2 in BMI was required to make a weight change noticeable.
The average decrease in weight needed to make faces more attractive was 2.38 kg/m2, or 14 pounds, for women and 2.59 kg/m2, or 18 pounds, for men.
“The difference between the groups suggests women’s facial attractiveness may be more sensitive to changes in weight,” said Rule. “This just means women attempting to lose weight need to shed slightly fewer pounds than men for people to find them more attractive.”
According to the National Institute of Health, more than two-thirds (69.8%) of adults in the United States are considered overweight or obese.
“When it comes to incentives for weight loss, some people are more motivated to look attractive than to improve their health,” said Daniel Re, a co-author of the study.
The study was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.