A person who is short and a taller person are engaged in a discussion regarding height. The shorter person believes that being small is superior to being more elevated. Still, the taller person needs to be convinced. The tall person claims that being tall leads to better health as a person’s height depends on the amount of food consumed during childhood. This person is short and claims that research has shown that short people have longer lives. The taller person disagrees, and they continue to argue.

Since the beginning of time, there’s been a belief that shorter people have longer lives than taller people. Even though the claim may be a bit flimsy, studies suggest a connection between a person’s height and longevity.

Researchers have examined more than 130 studies that have collected information on more than 1.1 million heights of people, as well as their reasons for seat height. In analyzing the patterns, researchers discovered links between the heights of people and the likelihood of dying in various ways. Over the last 30 years, several researchers have found an unfavorable correlation between larger size and longevity. Results based on millions of deaths indicate that shorter bodies are less likely to die and longer average life spans.

It is necessary to discover why shorter people tend to live longer, and there are many theories. Limiting calories or eating less is one reason that could lead to a longer lifespan for those who are shorter. Because of their larger bones and more internal organs and structures, taller individuals require a higher caloric intake to function optimally. Additionally, since taller individuals have larger organs, there’s an increased likelihood that a particular cell within the organ can develop cancer. Cancerous cells are formed in the event of a mistake in the process of cell replication. Larger organs require more cells to reproduce. Another possibility is that shorter bodies have fewer cells. Taller people may contain trillions of extra cells than shorter people, allowing for greater exposure and impact on cells by carcinogens. A third theory could be that more giant cells translate to more cell replication and that their cells could stop repairing organs and tissues as people get older—injuries in taller individuals.

While height is one factor that affects longevity, it’s not the only aspect. Taller people do not necessarily tend to live shorter lives, and those who are short are only sometimes sure to live longer. In addition, lifestyle choices can have an impact on longevity. Avoiding substances or alcohol consumption, exercising more, eating a healthier diet, reducing stress levels, and living in a cleaner region are ways to live more healthily and increase your longevity.

Many studies have demonstrated an association between height and life span. While these studies are convincing but they are not conclusive. The most effective method to extend one’s lifespan is to make healthy lifestyle changes.

What science has to say about people who are shorter living longer

Several studies show that height correlates with mortality risk.

Death rates for Italian soldiers

long-term study conducted by Trusted Source of men who had been soldiers in the Italian military found that those who were less than 161.1 centimeters (approx. 5’3”) lived longer than those who were over 161.1 centimeters. The study examined the deaths of men born between 1866-1915 in a similar Italian village.

Researchers discovered that when they reached 70, taller men were predicted to live for about two years less than more petite men.

When the people in the study were born, the average height for males living in the village was 5’2”. By modern standards, this was relatively small.

Also, it is essential to remember that the study did not study the correlation between variables, such as weight or BMI (body mass index) in this study.

The longevity of basketball players from the past

2017 study by the Trusted Source on the length and height of former basketball professionals discovered that larger body sizes led to lower longevity. The study looked at the height and life span of 3,901 living and deceased basketball players who played between 1946 and 2010.

The athletes had an average height of 197.78 cm. (approx. 6’5” tall). The study found that the highest-ranked players in the 5th percentile of height had a shorter life span than the shorter players in the bottom 5 percent. The people born between 1941 and 1950 were the only exception to the findings.

Researchers quickly noted that factors like genotype variations, socioeconomic variables, medical treatment, weight, nutrition, exercise, and smoking all play an essential role in the length of life.

Yet… what is the reason why shorter people live longer?

It still needs to be fully understood how or whether shorter people will live longer. It is, therefore, essential to conducting more studies.

At present, there is a myriad of theories that are currently being discussed:

  • Limitation on calories (eating smaller portions). This could be an element that favors a more life expectancy for shorter people. The taller ones have more prominent bones and more significant internal organs than those who are shorter. This means that they require an increased caloric intake for optimal functioning.
  • The shorter bodies have smaller cells. Tall people can contain trillions of more cells than shorter people. This means they are more exposed and cell damage from carcinogens and free radicals.
  • More cells equal more cells that replicate. As people age and lose their replacement cells, they may not be available to repair injuries to organs in more significant individuals.

Health risks for taller people

Health issues that are associated with height are cancer as well as other diseases. Here’s what science suggests.

Cancer, all-cause death

2016 study by the Trusted source of American women and men discovered a link between height, cancer risk, and deaths from any cause. Researchers looked at death certificates for 14,440 males and 16,390 females aged 25 and over.

According to research, an inch increment in height has resulted in a 2.2 percent greater risk of death due to any cause for males and a 2.5 percent increased chance of dying from any cause for women.

An additional inch in height led to a 7.1 percent greater risk of cancer in men and a 5.7 percent increased chance of cancer in women.

The researchers analyzed the level of education and birthdays. The researchers concluded their research suggested a rise in access to top medical treatment, including conditions that are not cancer-related, in the study participants.

The chance of developing cancer increases is higher in postmenopausal females.

The risk of cancer and height were examined in a research study in 2013 of 144,701 postmenopausal women. Being tall was connected to developing all types of cancer, including those related to the breast, the thyroid, the colon, and the ovaries.

Height was discovered to have a small but statistically significant impact on cancer progression.

Researchers analyzed the data of women with an earlier history of cancer. They also tried to account for body mass and weight index.

Numerous variables could have influenced the study findings, including height. For instance, smoking cigarettes and alcohol consumption rates were found to rise as height increases.

Educational level, ethnicity, income, and taking oral contraceptives and hormone therapy may all have been a factor in determining. Screening rates for cancer did not play a part in the study’s findings.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE)

The recurrences and occurrences of VTE were observed to occur more frequently for taller women than women with shorter height in several studies from Trusted Source. In this case, having larger legs and more prominent veins through which a thrombus could develop could be the cause.

Obesity, age, and hospitalizations for long-term conditions are also risks for this condition.

Does this apply to people who are tall and short?

Many factors affect the length of life, and being tall could be one of the factors. But taller individuals are likely to have shorter life spans, and shorter people are likely to live longer lives.

Lifestyle choices can also affect the progression of the disease and prolong its duration. To stay healthy and possibly extend your life span, you should:

  • Try to stop vaping
  • Try to control the consumption of alcohol
  • Do regular exercise
  • Consume healthy food that is rich in antioxidants and nutrients
  • Cut down on sugar consumption as well as fast food and processed foods
  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight
  • Try to lower the stress
  • Reside in a less polluted place

The Bottom Line

Numerous studies have revealed that height is linked to longevity. In addition, shorter people have been proven to be more resilient to certain diseases, like cancer, and live longer.

These studies, although impressive, aren’t conclusive. So when you’re worried about your long-term health, the most effective option is to make choices that will impact your longevity, whatever height. 

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Healthcare Professional

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