Body Proportions

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Body Proportions


in man, the interrelationship between the projectional dimensions and the individual parts of the human body. Body proportions are used in determining an individual’s physique, which is important in the evaluation of physical development.

Attempts to establish the regularity of body proportions, that is, the dependence of different parts of the body on a single original dimension, were first made in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome by sculptors and artists, who endeavored to reproduce the ideal type of human body.

In modern anthropology, various indexes are used extensively to characterize body proportions. In human morphology, for example, a scheme is widely used that takes into account the length of the frame and lower extremities and the width of the shoulders. The ratio of the transverse diameter (width) of the shoulders and length of the extremities to the total length of the body (height) is calculated in order to distinguish the types of body proportions. On the basis of the correlation of these dimensions, three types of proportions have been established: dolichomorphic, brachymorphic, and mesomorphic. The dolichomorphic type is characterized by a narrow and short torso and comparatively long extremities. The brachymorphic type has a wide and long torso and comparatively short extremities. The mesomorphic type is classified between the above two types.

Proportional characteristics are derived from special tables that are compiled on the basis of specific population groups; for example, some tables are based on ethnogeography, and some on age and sex. These tables take into account the actual variation patterns of body dimensions and the dependence of different parts of the body on a single original dimension; this information is not expressed in indexes and is based specifically on the principle of disproportional (heteromorphic) variations. Correlation analysis and regression analysis are used to compile tables. In comparison to an adult, a child has comparatively shorter legs, a longer torso, and a larger head. In relation to body length, a woman has a wider pelvis and narrower shoulders than a man.

There are also ethnogeographic group differences in body proportions; for example, the brachymorphic type is typical of the Eskimo, and the dolichomorphic type, of tall variants of the Negroid race.


Bunak, V. V. “Opyt tipologii proportsii tela i standartizatsii glavnykh antropometricheskikh razmerov.” Uch. zap. MGU, 1937, fase. 10.
Bashkirov, P. N. Uchenie of fizicheskom razvitii cheloveka. Moscow, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
With [Da Vinci's] the Vitruvian Man, because that work is all about body proportions, I decided to take it down a plastic surgery route.
Body proportions are given short shrift, but perhaps that's not what drawing on location is all about.
In modern humans, body shape and body proportions show some correspondence with ecogeographic regions due to their role in the efficient dissipation or retention of heat as expected based on the Bergmann's and Allen's rules (Allen 1877; Bergmann 1847; Mayr 1956).
The experts also compared the facial features and body proportions of the two figures in the photograph with known pictures of Earhart and Noonan.
Genetic evaluation of the infertile man with azoospermia and short stature with normal body proportions.
It is conceivable that the tiny Homo floresiensis evolved its miniature body proportions during the initial 300,000 years on Flores, and is thus a dwarfed side lineage that ultimately derives from Homo erectus.
Physical factors include natural hair type and growth patterns, face and head shape from various angles, and overall body proportions.
Nutritional influences in earl y life upon obesity and body proportions.
Cheng JC, Leung SS, Lau J (1996) Anthropometric measurements and body proportions among Chinese children.
The body proportions of the latest Volkswagen SUV are perceptibly sporty, and the design shows charisma from all perspectives.
Analyze your body proportions to select the most flattering silhouettes.