Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Body Fat Percent and Distribution

  • Martin J. TovéeEmail author
  • Esther M. Cohen-TovéeEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_86-1



The role of body fat and its distribution in sexual selection


White fat is the body’s main energy store and is deposited in two main reservoirs: as visceral fat in the abdomen and as subcutaneous fat on the thighs and buttocks. The visceral component of abdominal fat is more detrimental to long-term health than subcutaneous fat. This may be for partly mechanical reasons; the deposition of fat around the organs in the abdominal cavity may interfere with their normal function. Additionally, the development of insulin resistance (which contributes to diabetes and vascular disease) is attributed to an adipokine called retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), which is generated by fat cells. Visceral fat generates greater amounts of RBP4 than subcutaneous fat, and so visceral fat potentially has a disproportionate impact on health.

The distribution of fat on the body differs between the genders. Men and women produce both...


Body Mass Index Body Mass Index Category Attractiveness Rating Body Mass Index Range Attractiveness Judgment 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of LincolnLincolnUK
  2. 2.Clinical Psychology DepartmentNorthumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation TrustNewcastle-Upon-TyneUK