A number of studies point to the unexpected potential influence of physical height in the risks of developing various diseases (which may or may not be related). It was found last year that decreasing height is associated statistically with higher death rates due to dementia. Each standard deviation decrease in height is associated with a 24% increase in risk of death from dementia in men, and a 13% increase in women.
Short height ‘linked to dementia death risk’. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, November 4th 2014.
This relates to:
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Russ, TC. Kivimäki, M. [and] Starr, JM. [et al] (2014). Height in relation to dementia death: individual participant meta-analysis of 18 UK prospective cohort studies. The British Journal of Psychiatry: the Journal of Mental Science. November 2014, Vol.205(5), pp.348-54. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
Genetically Determined Height and Coronary Artery Disease
Short people appear to be statistically more prone (genetically) to developing coronary artery disease (CAD). Genetic analysis has discovered an association between shorter height and increased risk of coronary artery disease; whereby an extra 6.4cm of height reduces CAD incidence by 13.5%. This relationship might be explained by an association between shorter height, an adverse lipid profile and the higher risk of atherosclerosis.
Gallagher, J. (2015). Short people’s ‘DNA linked to increased heart risk’. London: BBC Health News, April 9th 2015.
This relates to:
Nelson, CP. Hamby, SE. [and] Saleheen, D. [et al] (2015). Genetically determined height and coronary artery disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, April 8th 2015. [Epub ahead of print]. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
Short people may have increased risk of heart disease. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, April 9th 2015.
Height and Cancer Risk
Swedish research indicates a statistical association between height and cancer risk; taller people having a higher risk of breast cancer and skin cancer (and other cancers). An extra 10cm (4 inches) in fully grown height increases the risk of developing cancer by 18% in women and 11% in men.
Study supports cancer link with height. London: BBC Health News, October 2nd 2015.