As American Women become Heftier, Miss America Winners become Slimmer

Saturday, September 19, 2015
Reigning Miss America, Betty Cantrell (photo: Noah K. Murray, AP)

Long portrayed as the representation of American female beauty, Miss America has become a misrepresentation of what women in the United States actually look like.


A review of body mass index (BMI) scores for Miss America winners and those of average American women revealed a stark difference, according to


“Using historical data on both the pageant winners and the average American woman, we were able to estimate that the only decades during which Miss America fell into the same range as the average U.S. woman were the 1940s and 1950s,” according to PsychGuides. But since then, “the pageant winners have become markedly thinner, while the average woman’s BMI has been increasing. Now more than ever, the ideal image of beauty portrayed by the contest inaccurately represents average American women.”


The BMI of average American females has gone from the low 20s to the high 20s over the past 60-plus years, PsychGuides says, while the BMIs for Miss Americas has declined from the low 20s to the middle teens. Nearly a third of Miss Americas are underweight.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The Evolution of Miss America (


Dusty 8 years ago
GOOD! Never has there a period when we needed inspiration more.

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