Bimbo No More

This health story from specialty-foods purveyor Vital Choice is the best news I’ve heard in a while:

Curvy Women and their Babies Test a Bit Smarter
Women with heftier hips and thighs test smarter, as do their kids; Cognitive edge is attributed to the higher omega-3 levels in lower-body fat
by Craig Weatherby

People’s perceptions of female beauty range widely across the world, and Western cultures’ standards for womanly allure changed dramatically in the decades following World War II.

Nowadays, being thin is in, with the linear figures of top fashion models getting so slim as to incite official attempts to bar underweight models and their starvation-style diet regimens.

There’s little doubt that women with smaller waists bigger hips and thighs – proportions that researchers call a “low waist-hip ratio” – have long constituted the female ideal.

From ancient India and Persia to classical-era Greece and Rome, up through the 19th century, portrayals of ideal women were curvaceous females with plump hips, ample thighs, and modest waists.

The voluptuous, curvaceous women portrayed by 17th century Dutch painter Peter Paul Rubens gave women of this body type the appellation “Rubenesque”….

Fleshy, curvaceous Rubenesque women were the Western world’s female ideal until well into the 20th century, and remain the acme of attractiveness in much of the modern world.

The results of new research suggest there’s an evolutionary reason why men have long favored this particular type of female pulchritude.

In fact, most men associate the term pulchritude – which the dictionary defines simply as “female beauty” – with ample, curvaceous figures in the mode of Marilyn Monroe or Jennifer Lopez.

The new findings suggest that men’s common misuse of the term reveals an ancient, evolution-driven yen for fuller figures, which seem to signal a smarter mate … and one who will produce brainier offspring to boot….

Study finds curvy women and their babies extra smart: Omega-3s seen as key
Periodically, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services conducts The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) among American adults and children.

This large health survey is unique because it includes medical examinations and laboratory tests in addition to questionnaires about diet and lifestyle.

A new analysis of NHANES data has produced intriguing new findings that tie women’s body shapes to their mental performance and their children’s brain power.

Compared with abdominal fat and other upper-body fat, the fat in women’s hips and thighs contains relatively higher proportions of omega-3 fatty acids: the kind of fat most important for brain development.

In contrast, abdominal fat and other upper-body fat is relatively low in omega-3s, and relatively high in omega-6 and saturated fats. These fats are, respectively, less important to brain development/performance, and possibly unhelpful to it….

Read the whole article here. (Ignore the gratuitously cutesy and anti-feminist final paragraphs, where Weatherby takes evidence that ought to be empowering to us stout, brainy chicks and turns it into an excuse for men to ogle women other than their wives and girlfriends. “I couldn’t help it, honey, it was her omega-3’s!”)

Somewhere, Velma Dinkley is smiling.

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