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Health Alert

Hourglass Figure not Always Healthy

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Having an imperfect body may not be all that bad, says a new article, which claims that ‘imperfections’ come with substantial benefits for some women.
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The report has been published in the December issue of Current Anthropology. The hormones that make women physically stronger, more competitive and better able to deal with stress also tend to redistribute fat from the hips to the waist, according to Elizabeth Cashdan, an anthropologist at the University of Utah.

So in societies and situations where women are under pressure to procure resources, they may be less likely to have the classic hourglass figure.

Cashdan’s hypothesis aims to explain a peculiar observation. Women around the world tend to have larger waist-to-hip ratios—more cylindrical rather than hourglass-shaped bodies—than is considered optimal.

Medical studies have shown that a curvy waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 or lower is associated with higher fertility and lower rates of chronic disease. Studies have also shown that men prefer a ratio of 0.7 or lower when looking for a mate.

The preference makes perfect sense, according to evolutionary psychologists, because the low ratio is a reliable signal of a healthy, fertile woman.

But in data that Cashdan compiled from 33 non-Western populations and 4 European populations, the average waist-to-hip ratio for women is above 0.8. If 0.7 is the magic number both in terms of health and male mate choice, why are most women significantly higher? That’s where the hormones come in.

Androgens, a class of hormones that includes testosterone, increase waist-to-hip ratios in women by increasing visceral fat, which is carried around the waist. But on the upside, increased androgen levels are also associated with increased strength, stamina, and competitiveness. Cortisol, a hormone that helps the body deal with stressful situations, also increases fat carried around the waist.

“The hormonal profile associated with high WHR (waist-to-hip ratio) may favour success in resource competition, particularly under stressful circumstances,” writes Cashdan.

“The androgenic effects—stamina, initiative, risk-proneness, assertiveness, dominance—should be particularly useful where a woman must depend on her own resources to support herself and her family,” the expert added.

In other words, trading the benefits of a thin waist for better ability to collect resources may be a good deal in certain societies and situations. And there is evidence that male mate preferences may reflect this trade-off, according to Cashdan.

Source : The Times Of India

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Married Couples Who Play Together Stay Together

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For married couples, finding moments to be together free of financial, family or other stresses is not an indulgence, according to new research from the University of Denver.

“The more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time,” says Howard Markman, a psychologist who co-directs the university’s Center for Marital and Family Studies.

“The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high, and significant.”

Other studies, too, have found that having fun together — especially while doing “new and exciting activities” — is the secret to a happy marriage.

Having a joyful marriage is unfortunately the exception rather than the rule in the United States. This is tragic as your happiness and ability to be optimally productive in your life is severely limited when you are not in a happy relationship with your spouse.

Taking some free time to really engage yourselves in something fun (without the kids and without any worries) is something we all can do more of, but there are other ways to support your relationship as well.

Four Tips to a Happy Marriage:-

Research shows that happily married couples live longer and heal faster than those in unhappy relationships. With that in mind, here are some practical ways to increase the happiness in your relationship:

1. Fight fair. “The way you interact during marital arguments is as important a heart risk factor as whether you smoke or have high cholesterol,” says Timothy W. Smith, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. Verbal aggression, such as yelling at or insulting your partner, leads to decreased intimacy and “self-silencing” — keeping quiet during a fight — has been linked to depression, eating disorders and heart disease in women.

2. Keep positive feelings alive. Couples most likely to be married for the long-term are those who maintain their positive feelings for their spouse for at least the first two years. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can help you to clear any emotional blocks that may be sabotaging your relationship.

3. Read the book Fighting for Your Marriage. It is a valuable source of information for positively handling disagreements between you and your spouse, which will increase the success of your relationship.

4. Support your partner’s goals and dreams. People feel happiest in relationships where they feel the other person helps them achieve their own personal goals.

Sources:
ABC News July 26, 2008

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