Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size

What Do Women Want? Nature Serves Up a Tall Order

WebMD Health News

Jan. 12, 2000 (Atlanta) -- The following information would no doubt have Napoleon putting up his dukes: When it comes to women choosing a mate, height does matter ... somewhat.

R.I.M. Dunbar, PhD, from the University of Liverpool, England, and two Polish colleagues recently conducted a study of 4,500 Polish men between the ages of 25 and 60. What they found, the authors write in this week's issue of the journal Nature, is that "taller men are reproductively more successful than shorter men, indicating that there is active selection for stature in male partners by women."

Dunbar tells WebMD, "We know a lot about height, stature, on the psychological perceptions of people in terms of their social, economic and other success, the reality of it. What we've shown is that these social and economic successes are actually carried over into evolutionary success, if you like, in terms of the frequency that people can pass on their traits to the next generation. ... We do indeed have free choice, but those choices still have evolutionary consequences and ... our decisions are actually guided by, or influenced by, genuine evolutionary considerations."

The researchers found that men without children are on average three cm. (1.2 inches) shorter than those with at least one child. The mean height of the men in this study was about 5 feet 6 inches. Dunbar says that unusually tall or short men were not included in the study because that may "reflect some pathological condition which may in turn have fertility consequences."

The only age group with men that were not "significantly" taller than the childless group was men in their fifties. The authors credit that to the fact that these men entered the marriage market after World War II, when men were in short supply.

Dunbar says that people likely have some "inbuilt guidelines," along with a myriad of other experiences, that direct them toward a specific mate, but of course, anyone can override those guidelines if they wish. "Stature is simply one criterion that women in this particular case use, and they're not choosing taller men just for the sake of tallness, but [rather] tallness is a cue or index of something more fundamental," Dunbar tells WebMD.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
Life Cycle of a Penis
HIV Myth Facts
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Couple in bed
6 Tips For Teens
Close-up of young man
screening tests for men
HPV Vaccine Future