BMI, Overweight and attractiveness

This also relates to my post on the 3 big elephants.

If you have been paying attention to the analysis coming out on BMI then you should check it out.


Most of the statistics come from the CDC government website which indicate that “More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese” with similar numbers being overweight through 2011-2012. This means that about 2/3rds to 7/10ths (67-70%) of the population is obese or overweight combined. Now, the data is drawn from the oft cited BMI which many people have touted as inaccurate because you can have a lot of muscle and be overweight or obese. This is why analysis of those with certain amounts of BMI over a statistical population is important.

Given the chart above we have:

  • 12% of men over 25 BMI (overweight) have less than 25% bodyfat.
  • 6% of men under 25 BMI (normal or underweight) have more than 25% bodyfat
  • 3% of women over 25 BMI (overweight) have less than 35% bodyfat.
  • 15% of women under 25 BMI (normal or underweight) have more than 35% bodyfat

Thus, in general, BMI is generally a fairly good predictor of overweight status compared to underweight and normal weight. It predicts >80% of the population in these categories which is pretty solid.

The percentages are particular disturbing in regard to men and women. Men will tend to be more likely to be overweight having more muscle and fat-free body mass if overweight than underweight and fat. However, the scary part is that there are more women that are supposedly normal and underweight that have >35% body fat percentage which is considered overweight.

Just so you can kind of get a feel for what 35% fat percentage in women looks like here are some charts (may be NSFW):

tumblr_inline_noq8yi4d2Y1t6co2z_500 bodyfat-chart-visual-women-03 body-fat-percentage-men-women

The 30% woman in the 2nd chart is probably a more realistic indicator of 30% body fat than in the first chart. The woman in the first chart wears her body fat extremely well and looks like she has good curves, but the vast majority of women do not wear it that well.

Generally, I would say that the vast majority of men like their women int he 15-25% range with the majority centering in around the 20% mark. Though curves do matter in some sense, as long as there is not too much extra “padding” as it were. Thus, the fact that we’re talking about 35% in terms of what being “overweight” means for women you’re already 10-15% bodyfat out of the ideal for most men.

An extra 10% bodyfat on a 20% body fat 5’4″ 120 lbs woman is 12 lbs bringing her to 132 lbs total, yet the average American women is now 5’3.8″ and 166 lbs.

For reference, Marilyn Monroe’s weight at 5’5″ supposedly fluctuated from 118 to 140. Even if we assume that the average weight for a 5’4″ woman is 140 and that she wears it well, then it’s still a 20% increase in fat weight from there to 166 lbs.


Essentially, my main point is that not just 70% of women are supposedly overweight or < 30% of the female population at best. Probably worse because overweight doesn’t take into account the female population within the 25-30% range as overweight which includes a lot of the female population that are < 25 BMI with >35% body fat.

This is exactly why I prize women who workout and eat healthy because the vast majority of people — men and women — are unattractive solely because of their weight. This is not to mention anything about personality and other factors.

If you want to maximize your pool of potential spouses then you absolutely should be sleeping well, working out, and eating right to get to a healthy athletic weight. No ifs, ands, or buts on this really.

This entry was posted in Advice to Christian women, Godly mindset & lifestyle and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to BMI, Overweight and attractiveness

  1. Pingback: BMI, Overweight and attractiveness |

  2. Matt says:

    Weight is a good indicator of self discipline. Women, even less than men these days, are not encouraged to develop self discipline as the grow up. This is a very bad thing if you want to have a successful lifelong marriage.

    Another thing to consider is that people gain weight as they get older. This is normal. So think about what a woman is going to look like when they are 20 pounds heavier. Then 40 pounds. Some still look good, some are terribly overweight.

    One last thought. When was the last time you saw a skinny lesbian couple? Most the ones I’ve encountered weren’t just fat, but morbidly obese.

  3. @ Matt

    Another thing to consider is that people gain weight as they get older. This is normal. So think about what a woman is going to look like when they are 20 pounds heavier. Then 40 pounds. Some still look good, some are terribly overweight.

    This is actually false. The body can change it’s various weight/fat set point through nutrition. It does this by modulating hormones like leptin.

    If someone gains weight permanently it’s because they are eating for the weight and their body has adapted to it. It takes a lifestyle change to lose it AND keep it off.

    Interesting point on the lesbian couples. I’ve seen a few that are fit and/or skinny but the vast majority are not.

  4. Looking Glass says:

    Things get a bit messy when someone gets past age 60. They’ll put on weight not really because of “age” directly, but their metabolism does slowly lower and if you don’t adjust in your 50s well, you’re going to have a brutal time getting that weight off. Total health, which is really hard to quantify, is actually the reason the aged put on weight. “Bad health” puts huge pressure on the hormones to keep up.

    The main problem is that between 20 and 30 BMI, the numbers aren’t predictive for total health for the body, especially as it relates to life/health insurance. The actuaries have been having a real pill of a time trying to use the data for that lately. 24-26 seems to be the most predictive for a longest life when you hit 65. (At least, the last time I saw data runs.)

    Though I didn’t realize they’ve settled on 25% body fat as the divider point. Must be from some new study. Granted, I fit in that upper left group of Men right now. 26 BMI at the moment at around 14-16% body fat. I used to not have too much issue staying below 25 until I started putting my legs. Thinner legs that weigh 10 pounds more are always funny.

  5. @ LG

    Yeah, generally you have to train and eat less after 60 years of age as metabolism does slow down significantly in order to keep the weight off.

    People claiming they have slow metabolism otherwise are simply lying unless they have a medically diagnosed thyroid issue.

  6. Pingback: Selected Sunday Scriptures- #86 | Donal Graeme

  7. ChildofRa says:

    The issue is that what this may count as overweight is not actually overweight. In the first pick majority of women are probably 30%-35% thats not overweight-thats called curves. I fit into the 30%-35% range the lowest weight i could possibly get without doing damage to by body is 130 anything below that for me, becomes an issue. Most women have curves yet in society women with curves are considered fat, all the women in my family naturally have big breast,thick thighs and a big booty -thats just genetics. In most cultures that is just how some women are built, we cant change that.

  8. Looking Glass says:


    It’s your diet relative to your genetics. If you change around the composition in various ways, you can drop the weight. This normally is done via changing the composition of fat & carbohydrate sources. (There’s a high tendency for belly fat when you eat Gluten + Vegetable oils at a high rate, though we don’t know why yet.)

    I like to use the point that “eating vegan” would kill a significant portion of the population. Their bodies would be unable to handle that low-density diet. Similar to a vegetarian diet.

    If you are otherwise at a normal weight but your face is a bit “puffy” or “chubby”, it’s not your calorie count that’s the problem. It’s the fat & carb sources (especially the balance of the Omega 3, 6 & 9) that don’t agree with you. Changing that up completely will do more good for your overall health.


    Looking at the numbers again, as a relative precentage, there is roughly the same amount of Men that are “Healthy Obese” as Women that are “Skinny Fat”. I guess that shouldn’t surprise us, when you think about it. Any Man that is athletic will be in the “Healthy Obese” category if those physical activities aren’t heavy endurance based. (Runner’s legs and all that jazz) Though those with “light frames” (i.e. most Asians) will be lower. Yet it’s good to remember that Japan actually uses 23 as the “overweight” line, given how light their bodies are relative to, say, the Northern Europeans.

    But that’s due to muscle, which is why there aren’t many guys that are “skinny fat”. Yet for Women, we see they focus a whole lot more on the total weight. That 15% are “skinny fat” should really concern us more. It’s not good to be that low on muscle mass yet at a “normal” weight.

  9. Pingback: 6 options for godly single women wanting to marry | Christianity and the manosphere

  10. anonymous_ng says:

    DS, just catching up on some of your more recent stuff.

    I have a rule of thumb as follows:
    Max weight for a woman in pounds = 2 x height in inches ie 1 5’6″ women is 66″ and her max weight would be 132# = 66×2.
    Attractive weight = 90% of max weight. In this case, that is 119#.

    Max weight for a man in pounds = 3 x height in inches, so a 5’10” man is 70″ and his max weight would be 210# = 70×3
    Attractive weight = 90% of max weight or 189#

    Also, if waist > .5 height, you’re probably overweight men or women.

    Now, the rule of thumb is just that, a rough guide. It’s more permissive for shorter people and harder on taller ones.

  11. @ anonymous_ng

    Pretty solid. Seems like that works well for attractiveness for the average man.

    I like my women closer to 100% of their max weight on your scale, but the additional 10% of their weight is all muscles.

    Basically, all that to say I like women with an athletic figure. A bit lower body fat and a bit more muscle than normal.

  12. anonymous_ng says:

    Do you remember back in 2007 when Allison Stokke broke the internet? Sounds like your ideal.

  13. @ anonymous_ng

    Do you remember back in 2007 when Allison Stokke broke the internet? Sounds like your ideal.

    Yep, there’s a bunch of athletes that have amazing bodies to me. Gymnastics, track and field, and sports such as those I find appeal to me the most. Of the “non-sports” bikini competitors are solid as well. Some figure competitors it’s starting to get a bit much.

  14. Pingback: A wife’s plea to Christian men about their sexual sinning | Christianity and the manosphere

  15. ChildofRa says:

    I have changed the way I eat since I was 9. There are certain foods I know longer eat like pork & beef. I have cut down on chocken and turkey and if i do eat meat its only on sunday and its salmon. I have added more greens and fruits to my diet and started eating more organic. As for excercising i do only pilates,yoga & bellydancing.

  16. Pingback: Beating the obesity dead horse and pickiness | Christianity and masculinity

  17. Jacqueline Perle says:

    To whom it may concern,
    Do you know the source of the drawing that you are using of weight by height for men and women. I need it for copy rights
    Thank you very much,
    Jacqueline Perle

  18. 135 lbs, 5'5" says:

    If you really consider the facts, men will more than likely naturally have more muscle than do women. Their body composition is different. Imagine two individuals that each are carrying the same amount of excess weight, except one is male and one is female. The male (more likely than not) has more muscle mass, so he has a percentage of fat that is lower because more of his body percentage is taken up by lean muscle than the woman’s body. It’s not a matter of favoritism, but a matter of mathematics.

    Women do not look at numbers when they are choosing a potential mate. Appearances count for little in the long run, but if anything a woman will look at the man, not his BMI. If he looks overweight, he is probably overweight. But an overweight man can still be very attractive, especially if the woman appreciates his personality and character.

    Also I hope you hold yourself to the same standard that you hold women to, if you expect everyone to be in a state of fitness. I agree that fitness is important, but if you are just lording your idea of attractiveness over women to get them to change to your tastes, you’re just being garbagey.

  19. @ 135 lbs, 5’5″

    Yep, generally men will have more muscle and lower body fat percentage. Men tend to like close to a .7 waist to hip ratio with weight in the healthy range with some muscle. Women tend to like their men solidly muscular and on the upper range of healthy.

    Neither sex really likes overweight or obesity, with all things being equal. Yes, some settle for it and some overlook it for other positive attributes, but it’s not optimal.

    And also, yes, my fiancee really appreciates how I look. I’ve been working out consistently for almost a decade now.

  20. Pingback: Descriptors of Beauty and Attractiveness | Σ Frame

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