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Alaitz Poveda

Postdoctoral fellow

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Ideal body image for the opposite sex and its association with body mass index


  • María Eugenia Ibáñez-Zamacona
  • Alaitz Poveda
  • Esther Rebato

Summary, in English

This research studied the preferences reported by women and men about their Ideal Body Image for the Opposite Sex (IBIOS), and its association with body mass index (BMI). It also analysed the preferences of each sex for a woman's ideal body image (W-IBI) and a man's ideal body image (M-IBI). A total of 450 participants aged 18-70 years with different weights were studied. Their IBIOS was assessed using standard figural stimuli. The sample was divided in four groups by sex and age (<45 years; ≥45 years). Sex and age differences in IBIOS, as well as sex differences in the preferences for a woman's ideal body image (W-IBI) and a man's ideal body image (M-IBI), were tested using a non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test. The association between IBIOS and BMI was analysed using Spearman's correlation. In all groups, the most chosen silhouette as IBIOS was number 4. In the under-45 years group, women chose bigger silhouettes for the opposite sex than men did (p<0.05). In this age group women chose as ideal smaller silhouettes for the female body than men did (p<0.01). In addition, women and men in the younger age group and with normal weight chose smaller silhouettes, while those who were overweight or obese selected larger silhouettes (p<0.001). Age was found to be a relevant factor in IBIOS preferences, and in the association between IBIOS and nutritional status as measured by BMI, which was only observed to be significant in the younger age group.


  • Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden

Publishing year





Journal of Biosocial Science

Document type

Journal article


Cambridge University Press


  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Body image
  • Nutritional status
  • Sex



Research group

  • Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology


  • ISSN: 0021-9320