Research with adults has shown a preference for average-weight female figures with waist-to-hip ratios (WHR) of 0.7, and average weight male figures with waist-to-hip ratios of 0.9. This study investigated the development of preferences for WHR sizes as well as preferences for specific body weights. Five-hundred eleven children ranging in age from 6 to 17 were presented with drawings of 12 male and 12 female silhouettes varying in weight and WHR and asked to select one they thought looked the nicest or most attractive. The youngest children showed preferences for the underweight figures, changing to consistent preferences for the average weight figures in the teenage years. The developmental curves for waist-to-hip ratio preferences were linear, changing gradually over time to become more adult-like. Potential developmental models for the development of preferences for specific body shapes are considered in relation to these data.
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