-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Fitter, slimmer men
are more likely to have fewer potentially dangerous germs in their
nasal passages compared to heavier guys, a new study contends.
The finding gives credence to the theory that one reason women
are attracted to fitter males is that these men keep bacteria at
bay and are more resistant to disease, the Polish researchers
The number and type of germs carried in a man's respiratory
tract "can be an honest indicator of the biological condition of an
individual," a team led by Boguslaw Pawlowski, of the University of
Wroclaw, concluded. The findings were published online recently in
American Journal of Human Biology.
Why do humans find certain individuals more attractive than
others? From an evolutionary standpoint, the researchers say,
certain body or facial characteristics may signify better health
and better genetics -- important in mate selection.
One key aspect of health is what the Polish team call
"immunocompetence" -- the ability of a person's immune system to
fend off harmful germs or other threats. They theorized that more
attractive men might also be more immunocompetent.
One way to measure immune system strength is to look at the
number and type of harmful bacteria in a person's respiratory
tract. To see whether attractiveness and immune system strength are
linked, Pawlowski's team "analyzed whether nasal and throat
colonization with potentially [harmful] bacteria is related to body
height and [weight] in both sexes and to waist-to-hip ratio in
They took nose and throat swabs from 90 healthy men and 103
healthy women to determine which of them were "colonized" by six
potentially harmful species of bacteria bugs, including those from
the staphylococcus or streptococcus families of microbes.
"We found that males with relatively high lean body mass in comparison to fat content appeared less likely to be colonized by opportunistic and therefore potentially [harmful] microorganisms," the team wrote.
In other words, heavier, less fit men were more likely to carry
these "bad bacteria" in their noses and throats than were slimmer,
more attractive guys.
No weight-related differences in bacterial colonization were
found in women, however.
The researchers said they believe this is the first study to
examine the link between weight and the presence of potentially
harmful bacteria in the nose and throat.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.