How Does Height Affect Life Expectancy?
There is a general assumption that taller people live shorter lives than shorter people because they have a higher incidence of obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease. This assumption is based on the fact that taller people have a higher bone mass, a larger heart and more body surface.
However, there is no evidence that taller people have a lower life expectancy than shorter people.
It is estimated that, on average, a person’s height is determined by 50% genetic factors and 50% environmental factors.
In other words, the environment that a person lives in can affect how tall they are – and how tall a person can be! In fact, it’s estimated that people who grow up in a wealthier environment can be up to 5 inches taller than people who grow up in poorer conditions.
What Research Has Found About the Link Between Height and Life Expectancy?
One study that examined the link between height and life expectancy found that, while taller people do have a slightly higher risk of heart disease, they also have a lower risk of dying from infectious diseases.
This suggests that, while taller people may have a slightly shorter life expectancy, they may also die of different causes. In fact, some studies have claimed that taller people can actually live longer than shorter people.
One study, which followed a group of people for over 80 years, found that taller people had a slightly lower risk of death at any age. While another analysis found that taller people were less likely to die from cancer.
Note though, these findings come with a pretty important disclaimer. While these studies do suggest that taller people live longer than shorter people, the difference is incredibly small. In fact, the average life expectancy for taller people is just 1 year greater than for shorter people.
So even though being taller might give you a slight advantage in life expectancy, it’s nowhere near enough to be useful.
How Tall is “Tall”?
While some studies have found that taller people do have a slightly longer life expectancy, others have suggested that there is no difference between being short and being tall.
Unfortunately, there is no clear definition of what “tall” or “short” actually means. For example, some studies have found that men who are 6 feet tall have a higher risk of heart disease than those who are 5 feet 10, while other research has found that 6-foot men are less likely to die of heart disease.
One study found that the risk of dying from heart disease is lower at all heights.
The same study also found that taller women have a lower risk of dying from cancer than shorter women, while taller men have a lower risk of dying from any cause. While this research certainly isn’t definitive, it does suggest that being tall isn’t necessarily bad for your health.
Health Conditions Associated with Height
There is currently very little evidence that being tall is bad for your health.
There is some evidence that being short may be bad for your health. For example, one study found that shorter women are more likely to develop osteoporosis (a bone disease) than taller women. A study that analyzed the medical records of almost 800,000 people found that a shorter height was linked to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
However, this research doesn’t suggest that shorter people are obviously worse off than taller people. It’s possible that shorter people are more likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases in the first place.
The Real Truth about Height and Life Expectancy
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably wondering if the “truth” about height and life expectancy really is that shorter people live longer than taller people. Unfortunately, most people who study the link between height and life expectancy come to different conclusions.
It’s clear that tall people have a slightly higher risk of dying from heart disease than the more vertically challenged, while short people have a slightly higher risk of dying from infectious diseases.
It’s also clear that taller people are less likely to die from cancer. However, there’s no evidence linking height to any other diseases. In fact, there’s very little evidence that short people are more likely to die of any diseases at all.
If you’re a taller person, don’t panic! While some studies have linked height to a higher risk of heart disease, others have linked it to a lower risk of death from cancer.
If you’re a shorter person, do not despair! While some studies have linked height to a higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, others have linked it to a lower risk of death from infectious diseases.
Moreover, most studies that have linked height to health conditions have been incredibly small in scope (if not in height). This means that the results are far from conclusive, and that more research needs to be done before we can truly understand the link between height and health.
While it’s true that taller people do have a slightly longer life expectancy, it’s nowhere near enough to be useful. In the end, all that really matters is that you live a healthy lifestyle and take good care of yourself.