Playmates' Weight Has Been Grossly Stable Through the Decades. But "America's Girl Next Door" Hasn't

Playmates have maintained a pretty stable weight through the decades. However, America's increasing obesity problem is placing Playmate further and further away from Hefner's ideal of the girl next door with her clothes off

Playmate Average Weight per Decade

True, in the 1950's the average weight was about 1.5 kilos (3.3 lbs) less than it is now. Yet this is nothing in comparison to how quickly the average weight of a 20-29 year old American has increased in the last half a century.

The US National Center for Health Statistics tracks data on the average body sizes of the American Population. For the 1960-1962 period, it recorded an average weight of 58 kg, for women between 20-29. Playmates in those years had an average weight of only 5-6 kg less. 

The last data collected by the Center refers to 1999-2002. In those years. the average weight had risen by about 13 kilos, reaching to 71. In comparison, Playmates had an average weight of 51-54 kilos. 

Playmate Average Weight and US Mean Weight (Female 20-29 Years) of Years datacards

Playmates' Weight (kg) between 1999 and 2002

If we zoom in the 1999-2002 period, many Playmates actually weighted less than 50 kg. Or more than 20 kg less than the average weight for a US 20-29 year old female

Also the BMI (Body Mass Index) of the Playmates has been roughly stable. In the last two decades, the BMI has been about 18.3 - 18.5 for Playmates. A value that classifies them as healthy weight or just slightly underweight, according to the WHO. 

Playmate Average BMI of Decades datacards

 And for the "American girl next door?"  It has been increasing steeply.

Playmate Average BMI and US Mean BMI (Female 20-29 Years) of Years datacards

However, it can be argued that Playboy models still offer a less unrealistic beauty standard than other fashion models. Almost half of them have a BMI that defines them as "healthy weight", according to WHO standards. True, the majority is still considered underweight, but only six models (0.8%) are actually classified as "severely underweight".

Number of Issues grouped by Model's BMI Classification

Bill Farley, Playboy's director of Communications, stated that body shapes of Playmates has been changing:

"In the 1950s and into the '60s, the cultural norm was more of the hourglass figure - Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield. That was reflected in the pages of Playboy. As time has gone on and women have become more athletic, more in the business world and more inclined to put themselves through fitness regimes, their bodies have changed, and we reflect that as well". 

Playmate Average Bust, Hips and Waist per Year

In fact, the data on the average hips, waist and bust sizes seems to confirm this. Playmates are having wider hips and waists, and smaller busts. In other words, the hourglass measures are slowly averaging towards less curvy bodies.

Playmate Average Bust, Hips and Waist per Decade