Attractive People Are Generally Healthier Than Average-Looking Individuals, Per New Study

We've been discouraged to use someone's looks to determine whether they're healthy, but a recent study suggests that a person's appearance may tell us a lot more about their health than we previously thought.

By Gina Florio2 min read
Pexels/Alex Paz

In the world of body positivity and fat acceptance, we're taught that a person's looks have nothing to do whatsoever with their health, and if you disagree with that, you're just a bigot who is trying to control women's bodies. In fact, the whole body positivity movement has been built upon the idea that a woman's appearance isn't related at all to her health status. But research has long posited a potential connection between physical attractiveness and health. While numerous studies suggest that traits associated with attractiveness are more prevalent in healthy individuals, particularly in relation to cardiovascular and metabolic health, the methodology behind these studies could potentially overlook important initial health and socioeconomic factors. Even so, the results are interesting enough to make your head turn.

Attractive People Are Generally Healthier Than Average-Looking Individuals, Per New Study

To delve deeper into this relationship, a study called "Physical attractiveness and cardiometabolic risk" utilizes panel survey data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a US-based dataset. The methodological approach is twofold. Physical attractiveness is gauged based on ratings given by interviewers who interacted in-person with the participants. Cardiometabolic risk (CMR) is assessed based on a range of biomarkers: LDL cholesterol, glucose levels, C-reactive protein, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and resting heart rate.

A clear correlation emerges between an individual's physical attractiveness and their health a decade later, as indicated by CMR levels. Notably, those who scored above average in attractiveness showed significantly better health compared to their average-looking counterparts. Interestingly, this connection is consistent across different genders and race/ethnicity groups. However, a vital observation is that the relationship between attractiveness and health can vary based on the demographic attributes of the interviewers themselves. The study further refines its results by addressing potential confounding variables, such as sociodemographic and socioeconomic aspects, cognitive and personality attributes, initial health conditions, and BMI.

The study's outcomes resonate with the evolutionary theory that postulates a connection between physical attractiveness and a person's biological health. This suggests that beyond just an aesthetic trait, being perceived as attractive might also symbolize other positive elements in an individual's life. These elements include high levels of life satisfaction, robust self-confidence, and an easier time securing intimate partners. All these factors can have a favorable influence on an individual's health, reinforcing the notion that appearance and well-being may be more intertwined than previously thought.

We've been told not to judge a book by its cover, but this recent research suggests that a person's looks can actually tell us a lot about their health. That doesn't mean that their appearance is going to give all the information, and of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but it only makes sense for our external appearance to be related to our internal health. When a woman is naturally healthy, her cheeks are rosy, her hair is shiny, her skin is clear, and her nails are strong. When she has an appropriate proportion of muscle and fat, she has an attractive figure and doesn't possess a large amount of belly fat. Of course, she would look a certain way (usually more attractive) if she also had good cardiovascular capability, a strong immune system, a healthy gut, etc.

We live in a modern era where many women have altered their beauty through cosmetic procedures, fillers, surgery, etc., and these factors make it more difficult to tell whether they are truly healthy. But just because there are exceptions to the rule doesn't mean the rule doesn't exist at all. The healthier you become, the more attractive you will probably be. This is evident in the before-and-after photos of women who have had tremendous weight-loss transformations. When they heal their bodies and shed excess body fat, they look prettier and more attractive. That's why it's useful to take care of your body and focus on internal health first—if you do that, your external beauty will only become more pronounced.

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