Overweight? Women need to be smarter, men richer in order to stay attractive, study says

A Columbia University economist has crunched the numbers and come up with a formula for making overweight men and women seem more attractive-without hitting the gym.

According to Pierre-Andre Chiappori's research, published in the paper "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Matching on the Marriage Market," a 10 percent gain in a man's Body Mass Index (BMI) can be offset by a 3 percent (or more) increase in his income level.

"People with a larger BMI will have a larger income," Chiappori told the New York Post. "It's in the data in a significant way." You can also see the truth of it in the celebrity wedding announcements: How do you think over-the-hill multimillionaires manage to snag those young, pretty trophy wives?

For women, the fix is a little trickier: You need an extra year of education for every 3 percentage point increase in your BMI. Why more education instead of more income? Chiappori doesn't say, but it's possible that women with more education are more likely to be good candidates for jobs in more lucrative (and traditionally male-dominated) fields-which can lead to higher income levels. And since more women are earning college degrees than men these days, The Huffington Post points out, being highly educated is an increasingly female trait.

Both men and women are more attracted to slim, wealthy partners than to broke, out-of-shape ones, Chiappori found after studying data collected by Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 667 white American couples. But while looks aren't everything, apparently having a good heart or a good head on one's shoulders isn't, either.

"Our findings tell us that physical appearance is not such a big deal, and it's easy to compensate for," Chiappori said.

The quickest fix, though might be upping your exercise levels, after all. "It's easier to change your BMI than it is to change your salary or education level," he said.

What do you think? Does a fat wallet make an overweight date seem more attractive?




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