2D:4D digit ratio and its relationship to BMI, sporting choices and physiological predispositions among women


  • Agnieszka Tomaszewska Department of Anthropology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences Kozuchowska Street 5, 51-631 Wroclaw image/svg+xml
  • Julia Anna Lubońska Department of Anthropology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences Kozuchowska Street 5, 51-631 Wroclaw image/svg+xml




contact sport, non-contact sport, volleyball, soccer, prenatal testosterone, weight


The 2D:4D digit ratio has been established as a biomarker of the level of exposure to prenatal sex hormones’ balancebetween prenatal testosterone (PT) and estrogenne levels. Higher 2D:4D indicates lower PT exposure and vice versa. Data suggests that PT exposure is linked to a risk-taking attitude and physical aggressiveness, both of which are requirements in contact sport. A possible correlation between 2D:4D and human body mass index has also been identified. The aim of the study was to examine the relation between 2D:4D ratio and choice of sport. It was assumed that female soccer players who choose a contact sport would have a lower 2D:4D ratio (thus experiencing higher exposure to PT) than female volleyball players (selecting non-contact sport). The analysis was also aimed at identifying whether a correlation between prenatal testosterone level and BMI exists. The participant sample consisted of 103 women – 36 volleyball players, 33 soccer players and a control group (N=34). Measurements were collected in 2019–2020. The results suggest that 2D:4D was significantly different in women practicing various sports (contact and non-contact sports). Women engaged in contact sports had lower 2D:4D than women engaged in non-contact sports, and vice versa (p<0.05). 2D:4D correlated positively with BMI and body weight – the higher the 2D:4D ratio, the higher the BMI and body weight (and vice versa) (p<0.05). Low 2D:4D (high PT exposure) may predict the choice of more risky, aggressive contact sports, and vice versa. High 2D:4D may predict a higher BMI and body weight, and vice versa.


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How to Cite

Tomaszewska, A. ., & Lubońska, J. A. (2022). 2D:4D digit ratio and its relationship to BMI, sporting choices and physiological predispositions among women. Anthropological Review, 85(2), 135–146. https://doi.org/10.18778/1898-6773.85.2.07