The 'dad bod': Survey finds people prefer a softer, rounder male physique associated with middle-aged men

A stock image of a typical 'dad bod'.
A stock image of a typical 'dad bod'. Photo credit: Getty Images

The 'dad bod' - a softer, rounder physique associated with middle-aged men - is considered more attractive than a leaner, toned body type, according to a new survey.

In a survey conducted by, roughly 75 percent of respondents said they preferred the 'dad bod' physique compared to a more chiselled, athletic body. 

The study, which involved 2000 participants, found 20 percent of respondents were indifferent to body type when it came to finding a partner. It also found only 15 percent preferred a "Barbie or Ken-like body type".

'Dad bod' was first popularised as a more derogatory term for softer, untoned male physiques. It was frequently used by pop culture outlets to describe the bodies of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Pratt and Seth Rogan - actors who don't have the typically honed Hollywood six-pack.

But the connotation of the term has shifted over the years, reflecting evolving attitudes towards diverse body types that do not fit the 'conventionally attractive' physique. A growing movement of 'body positivity', encouraging people to celebrate all shapes and sizes, has seen the 'dad bod' rise to become something of a desirable trait - if the results of this latest survey are anything to go by.

What constitutes a 'dad bod' appears to vary depending on who you ask. A dad bod can range between relatively slim, somewhat muscular and plumper, more overweight physiques. According to Google, a dad bod is defined as "a male physique that is relatively slim but not lean or toned".

In 2015, a university student in the US described the dad bod as striking a balance between "a beer gut and working out". As quoted by the Washington Post, she wrote: "[It] says, 'I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time'."

"Very fit and in-shape bodies are seen as ideal when it comes to attracting a partner, however the users of just proved that isn't always the case when it comes to real-life romances," Maria Sullivan, the vice-president of the dating website, said in a statement

"Movies and TV shows tend to promote 'Barbie and Ken' body types, giving people the idea they need to look similar in order to find their match. We are happy to confirm that is not how the real world really operates."

In March, The Wolf of Wall Street actor Jonah Hill spoke out on Instagram about how it felt to have his body discussed and dissected by the media.

"I don't think I ever took my shirt off in a pool until I was in my mid-30s," he wrote.

"(It) probably would have happened sooner if my childhood insecurities weren't exacerbated by years of public mockery about my body by press and interviewers."