In our fifth and final body types article, we wanted to address some more scientific questions you might be having regarding your body. To help you remember that it really doesn’t matter what body type you have.

All that is important is that you feel happy and healthy in your body. 

So why is your body type the way it is? 

There are quite a few different factors that can have an effect on your body type. For example, genetics play a role in how your body accumulates and stores fat. Your height can also have an effect on your body type as it changes your overall body shape.

Some features of your body type can be formed by your bone structure. ‘For example, some people have a curvier, rounder buttocks have curvature in their spine.’ 

Hormones also have a part to play in your body type. For example, ‘stress can trigger your body to release the hormone cortisol’. Research suggests ‘that stress-induced cortisol may be tied to fat buildup around the most vital organs in your mid-section.’ 

Can your body type or body shape change over time? 

photograph of a white clock on a light pink and blue background

Aging is one of the main factors affecting your shape and size over time. Older adults tend to have higher levels of body fat overall. Two contributing factors include a slowing metabolism and gradual loss of muscle tissue.’ 

Ageing can also have effects on your mobility and hight which in turn affect your weight and shape. 

Women who have gone through the menopause are quite likely to experience a change to their body shapes and fat distribution ‘by redistributing more weight to your abdomen’. ‘In other words, this hormonal transition may cause you to change from a “pear” to more of an “apple” shape.’ 

It is also noted that your ‘body shape may also change if you gain or lose weight – but these changes will be slight. That’s because the way your body stores fat and your overall bone structure will stay the same’. 

Could you change your body type if you wanted too? 

Dr Sullivan puts it well: ‘if you want to change certain things about yourself – for you and because you want to – exercise could make a difference. Regular exercise can help build lean muscle mass and give your body definition’ which may help you to emphasises some parts of your figure.

For example, you might be able to gain definition and muscle on your thighs by regular training. 

photo of two grey dumbbells on a grey floor

‘However, it’s important to remember that a lot of what determines your shape is set in stone by your bone structure, genetics, and overall build. Much like you can’t exercise your way into being taller, you can’t tell your body where to store fat’.

Just 38 per cent of 18- to 35-year-olds had rectangular proportions. However, 80 per cent of those aged 56-plus met the criteria. Similarly, 30 per cent of young women had an hourglass shape. The figures fell to 4 per cent in older women.

The Bottom Line 

drawing of women with different body types
Illustration by Diego Sabogal

No matter if you are pear-shaped, hourglass, or athletic, whatever body type you, just remember: you are beautiful. 

We hope that you can see from the variety of body types on this list that, women come in so many different and wonderful shapes and sizes. 

No matter what anyone tells you, the ‘ideal’ body shape doesn’t exist. (Really the whole idea of it is complete rubbish. Just look at how the image of women has changed over the years and differs from country to country)

The most important thing is not your how your body looks but that you are happy and healthy. If you have any concerns with how your body feels or moves then it is always best to ask your doctor. 

For our article on how to find your body type click here, or to learn the best ways of dressing your body type see here.


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