What are the most common female body shapes?

  • Overview
  • Estrogen and its role in shape definition
  • Common shapes
  • Understanding your shape
  • Living healthy in shape
  • Summary


Every body shape is beautiful and unique

Everyone is unique in their own way, with varying body shapes and sizes.

The female body shape or figure as some would say is a product of the individual’s skeletal structure, muscle, and fat distribution.

A body shape is defined by the ratio of the circumferences of the bust, hips and waist. These points are referred to as “the inflection point”. Some tend to be curvier, some tend to have narrower hips or broader shoulders — we may be a bit different but we are all unique.

Understanding your body shape will help you find out the most effective workout that will help improve your health


Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone, it plays a major role in defining the female body shape as it is responsible for both the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. The concentration of estrogen determines how body fat is distributed, thus giving the body its shape.

Types of Estrogen

The 3 major endogenously active estrogens are:

1.    Estrone (E1)

2.    Estradiol (E2)

3.    Estriol (E3)

Another type of estrogen which is exclusively produced during pregnancy is estetrol.  The most potent of these is Estradiol (E2), which is important in non-pregnant females between menarche and menopause. Estrone (E1) on the other hand predominates during menopause and Estriol (E3) during pregnancy.

The role of estrogen in shape definition

  1. It increases muscle mass.
  2. It increases muscle strength, thus protecting it from damage.
  3. Improves bone density.
  4. Increases sensitivity to exercise
  5. Estrogen increases fat storage in body parts like; breasts, buttocks, and thighs but decrease fat distribution to the abdomen and viscera.
  6. It also helps to regulate body weight and energy expenditure.

Why do people tend to have varying body shapes?

factors such as genetics, lifestyle, sex, and age play a major role in determining a person’s body type. Studies have shown that while genes determine approximately 80% of the body weight and shape, environment and personal lifestyle also play a significant role in determining one’s weight and shape. Some people eat little or no junk food but tend to gain a lot of weight while others may eat junk food on a daily basis without gaining weight. Some tend to accumulate weight in certain areas more than others, for example, some in the hips while some in the belly.

What’s More Sustainable? An SMS, An Instant Message, Or An Email?

Are Electric Cars Really Eco-Friendly?

The different female body types and possible associated health risk

The preferred or ideal female body shape and size has varied with time and continues to vary amongst people and culture. According to a 2004 study, female bodies have historically been described into categories based on their overall fat distribution into shapes, such as the oval, rectangle, triangle, oval, diamond, and hourglass.

The most common of these include:

  • hourglass
  • triangle
  • inverted triangle
  • rectangle or “ruler”
  • apple or round
  • pear

One is said to have an hourglass shape If the hips and bust are nearly equal in size and you have a well-defined waist that’s narrower than both your hips and bust.

The shoulders may be slightly rounded, and you most likely have rounded buttocks.

There are two types of hourglass shapes:

The top hourglass and the bottom hourglass shapes

Hourglass body shape

One is said to have an hourglass shape If the hips and bust are nearly equal in size and you have a well-defined waist that’s narrower than both your hips and bust.

The shoulders may be slightly rounded, and you most likely have rounded buttocks.

There are two types of hourglass shapes:

The top hourglass and the bottom hourglass shapes

Top hourglass body shape

For a top hourglass shape, bust measurements are slightly larger than the hips and they tend to have the general hourglass shape.

Bottom hourglass body shape

For a bottom hourglass, you have the general hourglass shape, but your hip measurements are slightly larger than your bust.

Hourglass Shape Health Risk and what to do

People with hourglass shapes tend to gain weight in such a way that it is hard to spot, as their weight is not concentrated in a particular area like apple-shaped and pear-shaped people. Thus they need to ensure regular checkups and scale taking to avoid being overweight as this may predispose such persons to chronic heart conditions. Full-body workouts, high-fiber, and low-fat diets are required to maintain a healthy weight for hourglass women.

Inverted triangle body shape

These persons have shoulders and busts that are larger than their relatively narrow hips, they have what’s known as an inverted triangle or “apple” shape.

 Health risk and what to do

Women with a larger bust may worry that their breast size may predispose them to cancer, though this has not been proven yet and it is important to know that the likelihood of developing breast cancer is dependent on certain genetic factors and the density of the breast and not necessarily the breast size. Focus on exercises that will help build your lower body part, exercises such as leg raising, squats and lunges have proven to be helpful. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a low-fat diet and staying physically active, always be conscious of your BMI (Body Mass Index) to avoid being overweight.

Round or oval or apple body shape

If your bust is larger than the rest of your body, your hips are narrow, and your midsection is fuller due to fat buildup, you have what’s usually called a round or oval body type.

Health risk and what to do

People with an apple body shape are considered to be at higher risk of health issues compared to the other body types because fat tends to accumulate more in the abdomen which poses a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. This is because abdominal fat has a great influence on metabolism resulting in high blood sugar, in addition, the fat cells may trigger an inflammatory response thus causing the release of cytokines that can bind to the heart and cause heart problems.

A healthy diet and intensive exercise are required for healthy living. Eat more fruits and vegetables and less fatty food. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes to lose weight, incorporating abdominal strengthening exercises too.

Rectangle, straight, or ruler body shape

The body looks even without any obvious curves. The chest, waist, and hips are of the same size, thus If your waist measurements are about the same as your hip or bust, and your shoulders and hips are about the same width, you have what’s called a “ruler” or rectangle body type.

Health risk and what to do

Being ruler-shaped and overweight predisposes you to heart diseases and diabetes mellitus while being underweight poses health issues like menstrual irregularities, depression, and malnutrition and can affect one’s ability to get pregnant as well.

Maintain a healthy diet and exercise to stay healthy and fit.

Triangle or “pear” body shape

People with this shape, have shoulders and busts that are narrower than the hips. The hips, thighs, and buttocks tend to carry more weight than the other body parts, they have slim arms and a fairly defined waist. Their waist most likely slopes out to the hips.

Health risk and what to do

Accumulated fat in the lower parts of the body is usually stubborn, to maintain a normal weight and live healthy, exercise, and eat smaller portions of food, including vegetables and fruits too in your meals.

Spoon body shape

The spoon body type is pretty similar to the triangle or “pear” shape.

The hips are larger than the bust or the rest of the body and may have a “shelf”-like appearance.

The individual may likely have a defined waist and may also carry some weight in the upper arms and upper thighs.

Other types of body shape include:

Diamond body shape

People with a diamond body shape tend to have broader hips than shoulders, a narrow bust, and a fuller waistline.

With this type of shape, you may carry a little more weight in your upper legs and may also have slender arms.

Athletic body shape

These persons tend to have a muscular body that is not particularly curvy. Their shoulder and hip measurements are about the same.

Their waist is narrower than their shoulder and hips, but it is not overly defined and looks more straight up and down.


However the shape of your body is, no matter what shape you are in, the most important thing is maintaining a healthy weight, eating the right food and exercising or staying active, keeping in mind that you are unique just the way you are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *