Monday, August 11, 2008

Math Formula For Sexy Bodies

Hey, guys, you say you know a sexy and shapely body when you see one? Now that qualitative judgment can be narrowed down to a simple quantifiable mathematical formula.

According to researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon, the best way to judge a woman's attractiveness is to take her volume in cubic meters and divide it by the square of her height, reports Nature News Service. This math formula, the ratio of volume to height, is known as the volume-height index or VHI.

Call it an equation for attraction.

Led by Jintu Fan, the Hong Kong researchers arrived at the formula by showing more than 50 volunteers 3D movies of rotating female silhouettes in assorted shapes and sizes. (We know. You want to know how you can volunteer for a research project like this.) The viewers were asked to rate the attractiveness of each woman on a scale of 1 to 9. The body measurements that got the highest scores became the basis for the VHI formula.

We already use a similar, although easier to compute, formula to determine our body mass index. The BMI is a measurement of total body fat. It's calculated by multiplying your weight in pounds by 705 and then dividing by your height in inches twice. Or click here and let the calculator do it for you.

VHI is a modification of BMI, which researchers at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom already used as a way to determine women's attractiveness. That study, led by Piers Cornelissen, found that women with a BMI of 18 to 19 were considered the most lovely. That's very thin and barely in the "normal" BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9.

The researchers admit that most men don't need a mathematical formula to determine if a woman is attractive. Even Britain's Cornelissen told Nature News that people make an instinctive assessment of shape, but a "winning" VHI or BMI may be reflection of evolutionary preference for women who are healthy or fertile.

So what is the ideal VHI number? The Hong Kong researchers refuse to identify it. Which just goes to show that beauty may indeed be in the eye of the beholder.

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