The relationship between female adiposity and physical attractiveness amongst adults in rural Ranaka village, Botswana

H. Salome Kruger* (Corresponding Author), Tumelo Seru, Zandile J. Mchiza, John R. Speakman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: The aim was to assess the relationship between female adiposity and physical attractiveness among men and women in Botswana. Design: A cross-sectional study was undertaken. Setting: Ranaka rural village, Botswana. Subjects: Randomly selected adults (n = 113, men = 48 and women = 65), 18–50 years old were recruited. Outcome measures: Scores to indicate the attractiveness of 21 images of female bodies that represented different percentage body fat (%BF) according to participants’ age, gender and body mass index (BMI) were recorded. Results: The perceptions of physical attractiveness of female body size were similar among men and women, regardless of significant differences between the BMI of men and women. Younger (18–30 years) and older participants (31–50 years) separately, as well as underweight/normal weight versus overweight/obese groups all gave higher attractiveness scores for images with a lower %BF. All groups gave the highest score for the same image (%BF of 19% and waist:hip ratio (WHR) of 0.72), and the lowest score for an image with %BF of 49% and WHR of 0.81. There was a significant negative correlation between attractiveness score and %BF of the images for all groups, but no significant correlation between the attractiveness scores for the images and WHR. There was a consistent outlier in the graphs between attractiveness score and %BF with a %BF of 32% and a WHR of 0.61, with a relatively high score of 7.4 out of 9 for all groups. Conclusions: Participant groups according to gender, age or BMI gave similar attractiveness scores for leaner female body images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online date17 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Africa
  • attractiveness
  • obesity
  • rural


Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between female adiposity and physical attractiveness amongst adults in rural Ranaka village, Botswana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this