Health and beauty are the most important physical ideals. This paper seeks to compare and contrast these ideals, based on a value theory of human abilities. Health is comprehended as a potential ability to act grounded in bodily functions. Beauty is explained as a symbolising reference to happiness, physical beauty as a combination of organic orientation to purpose and virtuous orientation to action. Physical beauty is the implicit symbolic expression of mental and physical health. This teleological theory is tested and exemplified using current stereotypes such as youthfulness, slimness and shapeliness.