The British recently completed their second-ever study of women's figures, known as the UK National Sizing Survey. In comparing the study to the only previous one performed in 1949, it seemed that women's bodies have changed dramatically. In 1949, the average woman was 5'2" in height and weighed 136 pounds. The recent survey showed that the average woman had grown to 5'4" and 143 pounds. More importantly, women's figures have changed. In 1949, the average British woman had an hourglass figure measuring 36-24-35, but today she measures 38-34-40.
In attempting to explain the change, researchers cite changes in British diet, including increased fat calories and sugar consumption. The change explains something previously released information--showing that the average size of breasts in Britain had increased--could not: why breast augmentation is growing in popularity. If only women's breasts were growing, demand for breast augmentation would be flat or shrinking, but instead it is growing. This study shows that the figure of Britons is changing as a whole, and that maintaining an hourglass figure may require the help of cosmetic surgery, either breast augmentation or body contouring procedures like liposuction or a tummy tuck.
In the United States, figure surveys were last conducted in 1939 and 1940, and published in the USDA's Miscellaneous Publication 454, Women's Measurements for Garment and Pattern Construction. A new survey in the United States has been completed, but final results have not been released, pending conferences with industry leaders about new sizing standards.