The changing shape of the female form

female body changingThe average woman’s waistline has expanded by a staggering seven inches in 60 years, according to a recent study.

Researchers compared statistics from a National Sizing Survey taken in 1951, with those from a new body shape survey by The Vitality Show.

The results showed that the average female bust-waist-hips ratio in 1951 was 37-27-39. Today the average is 40-34-40. Long gone are the classic minuscule-waist, hour-glass figures of Hollywood’s heyday – it’s clear to see the female form has changed significantly. So why is this, and what does this mean for modern women?

Experts believe that the body-shape changes can be attributed to a combination of stressful modern living and increased accessibility to unhealthy processed foods.

According to Dr Marilyn Glenville, stress can cause people to put on weight because during stressful times, the body releases additional energy in the form of glucose and fat to prepare us for the ‘fight or flight’ impulse. If we do not do anything physical after this release of energy, it gets stored as abdominal fat. The reason fat tends to gather around the middle is that the nearer it is to the liver, the quicker it can be converted back into energy if it is later needed.

Experts advise that a healthy waist-hip ratio for women is 0.7. Today, the average waist-hip ratio in women is 0.83, which is believed to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower the likelihood of conception.

According to Dr Tom Brett of ‘Having extra fat on your abdomen, rather than on your bottom or elsewhere on your body, puts both men and women at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Excessive fat in your abdomen is known as central obesity and it’s partly due to fat accumulating around your internal organs.’

So many people in Britain struggle to stay at a healthy weight. Our lives are increasingly sedentary – especially for those of us who work in an office environment. Work, relationship and family stresses can cause us to comfort eat and lack of time can prevent us from cooking healthily. If you think you need help, whether to plan your time more carefully, deal with certain stresses or begin a health regime, a life coach may be able to help. To find out more, please visit our Health page. Alternatively, find a life coach by using our search tool.

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Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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