Why the 'Dad Bod' Physique Is the Future of Sexual Selection

Dad bod
A shirtless man in Hollywood, Florida, August 31, 2007. "Dad bods" are said to make men more attractive to the opposite sex and are linked to lower cancer rates. Joe Raedle/Getty

Fathers who are carrying a little extra weight live longer, have better relationships with their children and are more attractive to women, according to research.

Richard Bribiescas, professor of anthropology at Yale University, claims "pudgy" middle-aged men are healthier than testosterone-driven men in their 20s and 30s. Not only do they live longer than their leaner counterparts, they are also better at passing on their genes and more attractive to the opposite sex, he said.

In 2015, reports referencing the "dad bod" phenomenon started to emerge. The message came loud and clear: beer bellies are in, biceps are out. It has since become a term to describe the figure of a man with children who looks as though he balances midweek gym sessions with drinking heavily on the weekends.

But despite being used as an amusing slang term, Professor Bribiescas said there are real health benefits to keeping an extra couple of pounds around the middle.

In his research, he claims there is evidence that older, slightly chubby men are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and prostate cancer. He also argues that becoming more podgy makes dads more likely to invest their time in their children rather than looking for other women, while the increased levels of fat could make them more attractive to women.

In How Men Age, Professor Bribiescas states: "One effect of lower testosterone levels is loss of muscle mass and increases in fat mass.

"This change in body consumption not only causes men to shop for more comfortable pants but also facilitates increased survivorship and, hypothetically, a hormonal milieu that would more effectively promote and support paternal investment."