Scottish women stay slim, despite the chocolate

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The Independent Online

A woman's figure is affected by a "postcode lottery", with hip, waist and bust measurements all subject to regional variations.

Scottish women are the slimmest in the United Kingdom, while those in the South-east have the biggest busts and the Welsh are most likely to be pear-shaped.

The findings, based on a range of studies and the National Diet and Nutrition survey, found that the vital statistics of the female population varied across the UK.

Women in the North had the biggest stomachs, with an average waist size of 33in (83.8cm), compared with 31.5in in Scotland, 32in in London and the South-east and 32.5in in the Midlands and Wales. Despite being the least likely to exercise, and having the lowest rates of fruit consumption in the Britain, northern women were the most likely to be on a diet.

Weighing in at an average of 10st 3lb (64.8kg) and a height of 5ft4in (162.5cm), Scottish females are the lightest in the UK.

Their slimline figures may be explained by the fact that they eat more fruit than their counterparts in other regions and, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, eat the least fried food. However, their healthy eating is countered by the fact that they drink the most alcohol and eat more chocolate than women south of the border.

London can boast that its female population has the biggest bust, with an average bra size of 34C, compared with 34B in the North, Scotland, the Midlands and Wales.

They also eat more vegetables than women in other regions and fewer chips.

Welsh women, those in the Midlands and those in the west of England are the most active, claiming to do more than an hour of exercise every day, but they have the biggest hips.

Angela Dowden, a nutritionist, said the variations were caused by differences in diet, weather and pay.

"Northerners have traditionally eaten more fried food and pastry, which explains why they have bigger stomachs," she said.

"Perhaps this is because the weather is colder and they need the comfort of filling food, or perhaps they are just better at cooking pastries and pies.

"The popularity of burgers and sausages in the Midlands is probably due to pay packets being traditionally smaller than in the South."

She added: "I was pleasantly surprised by Scotland.

"The Scottish diet has been panned as one of the least healthy, but Scottish women seem to be getting the healthy-eating message, with more fruit and fish, and not so many cakes and biscuits."

With a weight of 11 stone, the average British woman weighs far more than the 8st 7lb that the fictional "Everywoman" Bridget Jones aspires to. A recent survey by Top Sante magazine revealed how deeply most women want to change their weight and appearance.

Less than 1 per cent of the female population believe they have the perfect body, and more than half think they are overweight. Eight out of 10 said the modern culture of celebrity had meant that men's expectations of women's bodies were too high. And half of the 1,000 women who were questioned thought that they would climb the career ladder more quickly if they had a better body.

The long and short of women in the UK

THE NORTH

Average height: 5ft 4in (163cm)
Average weight: 11st (69.8kg)
Average waist: 33in (84cm)
Average hip: 41in (104cm)
Average bra size: 34B

SCOTLAND

Average height: 5ft4in
Average weight: 10st 3lb
Average waist: 31.5in
Average hip: 40in
Average bra size: 34B

LONDON AND THE SOUTH-EAST

Average height: 5ft 4in
Average weight: 10st 10lb
Average waist: 32in
Average hip: 41in
Average bra size: 34C

MIDLANDS AND WALES

Average height: 5ft 3in
Average weight: 11st
Average waist: 32.5in
Average hip: 41.5in
Average bra size: 34B

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