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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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Categories
Featured

Women’s Natural Scent More Seductive Than Perfume

Women might want to think twice before spritzing Chanel No. 5. A new study suggests that a woman’s natural scent may be all she needs.

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Recent research shows that a man’s testosterone levels, which are linked with sexual interest, are significantly higher when they smell the shirt of a woman who is ovulating.

Other studies have linked higher levels of testosterone with an increase in sexual arousal as well.

In surveys, men have reported being more attracted to ovulating women. The new study builds on this research by measuring the response of men to a specific chemical cue

Rersources:
Discovery News February 10, 2010
Psychological Science December 22, 2009

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Categories
Healthy Tips

Having Sex Twice A Week Reduces Chance of Heart Attack

Men who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to new research.
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It shows men who indulge in regular lovemaking are up to 45 percent less likely to develop life-threatening heart conditions. The study, of over 1,000 men, did not examine whether women benefit too.

The researchers who carried out the investigation are calling for doctors to screen men for sexual activity when assessing their risk of heart disease.

Resources:
The Telegraph January 8, 2010
American Journal of Cardiology January 15, 2010, Volume 105, Issue 2, Pages 192-197

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News on Health & Science

Testosterone Patch Can Boost Libido

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Australian scientists have found a simple way to boost sex drive in older women- a stomach patch loaded with the male hormone testosterone.

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The new study has detailed significant benefits of testosterone in the bedroom. Testosterone is the only agent known to improve desire and arousal in women, reports News.com.au.

“Women who used the patch experienced twice the number of satisfactory events than women using a placebo patch. That’s an exciting development given no other agent has been found to help women,” said the lead investigator professor Susan Davis, from Monash University in Melbourne.

For the study, the researchers studied 814 post-menopausal women worldwide who were given either the male hormone or a dummy patch, which is stuck to the stomach and was changed twice weekly.
Developed by US drug company Procter and Gamble, the patch is not yet available in Australia.

Before the study, the women enjoyed half their sexual encounters. However, after six months, those on the testosterone patch had an extra two satisfying experiences a month, in contrast with 0.7 among the placebo group.

“We already knew it could work among women taking oestrogen as part of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but HRT isn’t for everyone so it’s important to know it works alone too,” said Davis.
She also said that there was a “nervousness” among women in using a male hormone, “but women actually have more testosterone in their blood at any given time than oestrogen”.

Sources: The Times Of India

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