Sex Roles

, Volume 56, Issue 1–2, pp 33–43 | Cite as

Waist-to-Hip Ratio and Unhealthy Body Change in Women

  • Alexander J. Mussap
Original Article


The role of waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) in unhealthy body change was examined in a sample of 143 women university students. They completed the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q), reported their level of concern with weight and with WHR, and used unmarked measuring tapes to record their subjective (self-perceived), ideal, and objective (measured) waist and hip circumference. Although body shape was reported as important, and concern with WHR correlated significantly with symptoms of disordered eating, the relationships involving WHR were not independent of those involving body weight. Thus, there appears to be little behavioural and/or clinical significance in the aesthetic evaluations made by women of their WHR. Reasons for this are considered in light of evidence that women regard WHR as more difficult to control and less amenable to change than their overall body weight.


Women Body image Waist-to-hip ratio Unhealthy body change Disordered eating 



This research was supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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