July 30, 2017
A new study suggests how attractive a woman is — and how attractive their husband is — may determine whether or not they feel motivated to diet.
Researchers at Florida State University looked a 223 newlywed spouses, taking photographs of their faces and bodies to code their objectively attractive qualities.
They found that women who rated as less attractive than their husbands were more motivated to diet and attempt to get slim, while women who were more attractive than their husband didn't feel that extra drive.
Men were less likely to feel motivated to diet, regardless of their level of attractiveness compared to their spouse.
“The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive,” said Doctoral student Tania Reynolds, one of the study's authors.
Reynolds said the findings suggest societal factors may play a role in women's eating habits, and may help in identifying women who are at high risk for extreme weight-loss behaviors.
She added that other research found women tend to overestimate how thin their partners want them to be, and therefore may wrongly pursue dieting and getting skinnier.
“One way to help these women is for partners to be very reaffirming, reminding them, ‘You’re beautiful. I love you at any weight or body type,’” Reynolds said.
The study was conducted to advance previous research from Florida State that found marriages tend to be more successful when the wife is more attractive than the husband.