It's not only men who are attracted to the physical attributes of women. When it comes to finding Mr Right, a new study has revealed that females too prefer long-legged males than their stumpier counterparts.
Researchers in Europe have carried out the study and found that taller people are more physically appealing to the opposite sex -- in fact, people whose legs are five per cent longer than average are considered the most attractive, regardless of their gender.
"There are good evolutionary reasons for the preference. Long legs are a sign of health," 'The Guardian' quoted lead researcher Boguslaw Pawlowski of University of Wroclaw in Poland as saying. The researchers came to the conclusion after asking 218 male and female volunteers to rank the attractiveness of seven men and seven women from digitally altered images.
While all of the people were the same height, the length of their legs was altered to make them equal to the Polish average or longer by five per cent, ten per cent or 15 per cent. The team found that regardless of the volunteers' own body shape and leg length, people whose legs were five per cent longer than average were rated as the most attractive.
The next most appealing was an average leg length, or those that were ten per cent longer than normal. According to Prof Martin Tovee of the Newcastle University, longer legs are one of many subtle cues that suggest good health, especially in women.
"Leg length is a good indicator of childhood nutrition in women because their legs stop growing once they reach puberty. "So if a woman has long legs it suggests she grew up in a good environment and that has a positive effect on fertility. The effect in men is more subtle, because their legs continue to grow beyond puberty," he said.
Previous research has linked shorter legs with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity-related type II diabetes in both sexes. Shorter-legged men are also more likely to have higher levels of triglycerides, which are linked to arterial disease and strokes.