The Beautiful and Damned

New research has found that attractive people are less likely to get tinnitus, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure. The more physically attracted men or women are rated, the more protected they seem from a wide range of health problems, from high cholesterol to depression. They also feel healthier, have less time off work and are diagnosed with fewer physical and mental health conditions during their lifetimes.

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These extraordinary findings by US researchers are based on a study involving 15,000 men and women, aged 24-35, who have been monitored since they were 10. It is the biggest and most comprehensive study to find tangible links between attractiveness and good health, and the first to home in on a number of individual diseases. The researchers, from the University of Cincinnati and other centres, point out that until now most studies have been on students.

The new research is based on interviews with a nationally represented sample of the whole US population. And, unlike earlier studies, this is based on the researchers’ ratings of the participants’ physical attractiveness, done face-to-face, rather than assessments based on pictures, drawings or videos. The researchers, whose work is being published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, say that attractiveness may be a marker of good genes which also signal good health, as well as increasing the likelihood of having healthy offspring.

These findings do not surprise me in the least. On the contrary, I don’t find them extraordinary. Attractive people from both genders are on the whole pampered and treated better than those with a less appealing demeanour. Beautiful people are in a class of their own. They are showered with a multitude of opportunities that raise the prospect of their earnings and as such boost their standard of living. Doors are wide open to them and they rarely have to struggle in forging for themselves a comfortable lifestyle. They can afford to maintain a healthy life and look after their bodies through exercise and are able, to some extent, to control the ageing process through a healthy diet and a less stressful environment.

In other words, the world is their oyster and we can sit and marvel at their good luck.

The inequality of birth can never be explained in religious terms. The only equality we know is that we begin to die the day we are born. But some have greater benefits than others, unless, of course, you believe in an afterlife where the incomprehensible rules the waves.

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