February 25, 2008

The Measure of a Man: Waist to Hip Ratio

The Waist to Hip ratio, or WHR for short, is a useful metric for quickly sizing up the overall health, fertility, and desirability of an individual. Calculated by taking the circumference of the waist and dividing it by the circumference of the hips, this heuristic cuts through boundaries of time and culture. Whether a society prefers a full figure or a waif-like one, the desired ratio still remains the same - 0.7 for women and 0.9 for men. Surveys in many different countries have trended towards this 0.7 value. Research has shown that there is a link between a mother's WHR and the cognitive abilities of her child, making it an useful metric for ARNABride candidates. The hourglass figure and the vital statistics of 36-24-36 all allude to this magic number that acts as a rule of thumb for calculating the fecundity of a female.

A gentlemen must also pay attention to his WHR. The WHR gives an idea about the distribution of fat around the abdominal area. Belly fat is a key indicator of chronic health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. While measuring myself for a custom tailored shirt, I had collected all the values required to calculate my WHR. A regular in annual IT industry publications lists of sexiest software engineers, when I first returned from India I had the ideal male proportions of 0.9. Since starting my new job, my metabolism has been unable to keep pace with my enviable work ethic and my WHR has slipped into the 98th percentile. In the past corsets were used to artificially alter a person's WHR, but I find this to be an unappealing remedy.