What is the Most Attractive BMI? What Should You Weigh to Look Your Hottest?

What’s your Body Mass Index (BMI)? What do you mean you don’t know? This is probably one of the most important figures you will ever find out. This is the number that protects you from obesity.

It is possible to be obese if you weight only 100 pounds, or 45 kilos. How? It’s all to do with your height. Every person, (I don’t care who they are) should become familiar with their BMI.

Yes, yes. I know what you are going to say. BMI is not a calculation that is recommended for children. Or athletes. Or old people. Or people of Asian descent. Or pregnant women. It is not without its flaws.

What the hell is BMI?

BMI formula

Calm down. It’s nothing sinister. If you’re old school, grab a calculator. If your nu skool – go to this BMI link for instant gratification, no matter if imperial or metric is your thing.

Now you know your BMI – let’s be very clear about what this means:

  • If the number is 18.5 and below, your weight is too low. This is not ideal.
  • If the number ranges from 18.5 to 24.9, your weight is normal – congratulations and maintain it here.
  • If the number ranges from 25.0 to 30.0, you are overweight.
  • 30.0 to 35.0 indicates obesity.
  • 35.0 to 40.0 indicates morbid obesity.
  • 40.0 and above indicates hyper-obesity.

What’s the most attractive BMI?

There have been many studies done on this.

A recent University College London paper called Female physical attractiveness in Britain and Malaysia: A cross-cultural study asked 682 men to give a score to photos of women. This was then collated and the most attractive BMI was found to be 20.85.

To put that in a frame of reference, a woman who is 5 foot 6 or 168 centimeters tall would have to weigh 61.6 kilos or 135 pounds. The study also found that 75% of a woman’s physical attractiveness to men is determined by her BMI.

The study also looked at waist-to-hip ratio, leg length and other attractiveness indicators.

I found another study called Optimum body-mass index and maximum sexual attractiveness (seriously, do these scientists need to get out more or what!) interviewed a bunch of university students and found that they were slightly less specific, but keener on slimmer gals. They preferred a BMI of 19-20.

To put that in a frame of reference, the same woman (5 foot 6 or 168 centimeters tall) would have to weigh 53.8 and 56.4 kilos or 119 and 124 pounds. Now, I’m not sure about you, but I regard those weights as being very low, but given the age of the participants (college age) it doesn’t surprise me. Humans are leaner as young adults than when they pass 30, so I guess it makes sense that college-age guys would be keen on ultra-slim women.

But if you are too thin – guys are not interested!

The study also showed that attractiveness ratings dropped sharply when the women pictured were below a BMI of 17. The scores dropped more gradually beyond a BMI of 25.

Are we all so fat that we aren’t even noticing anymore?

Yes, apparently so. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “Extreme obesity has increased to the point that people are losing sight of what a normal weight is.” It’s also increased 68% since 1997.

The president of the Public Health Association of Australia has said, “Our view of normal has changed. I think that people are not really aware of what normal weight is any more, if you have got 60-plus per cent of people overweight or obese, that has become normal viewing these days – not only for children but for parents as well – so our view of normal has changed.”

So what should you look like at a certain BMI?

Years ago, I found this interesting Flickr site where people post images of themselves at certain BMIs.

It’s called Illustrated BMI Categories and you can hover your cursor over the photos to see that people have given themselves labels such as “Shauna is obese”, “Tom is overweight”, “Carol is normal.” It’s interesting because you can see that obesity has many appearances, as does normal.

Photo by Lucysol – many thanks


3 thoughts on “What is the Most Attractive BMI? What Should You Weigh to Look Your Hottest?

    • Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, I find it really frustrating to remember so many – often it takes me multiple tries to get into the most basic sites and apps!

  1. Yes- it’s certainly not the be all and end all of health. I only first discovered it when I was an overweight teenager and discovering how high my bmi was made me take action. It was the difference between my brain justifying, “oh I’m just a little chubby” to “oh wow,my weight and health are not where they should be, and I can fix this”.

    Having said that, health and weight is a very personal journey and what works for one person may not work for the next, and what worked last year may not work this year as our bodies age and change.

    Thanks again for your comment, Kim. 😃

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