When it comes to the things that impact our lives, our height doesn’t usually top the list. But in recent years, research has come out which suggests there might be more to height than we think.
A recent study has found that people who are taller tend to have a shorter lifespan. On average, people who are 6 feet tall will live about 2 years less than someone who is 5 feet and 10 inches tall.
We know that being overweight and leading an inactive lifestyle can lead to early death. But why do tall people die younger?
Let’s get to know the reasons behind this phenomenon and explore some potential explanations for why taller people die younger.
Why Do Tall People Die Younger?
Many different factors lead to people dying younger. One of the factors is that tall people die younger than short people, even though they have the same risk factors for diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, as shorter people.
It is not clear why this is, but some studies show that hormones and genetics are involved. So why do tall people die younger than shorter people?
One reason is that larger bodies have larger organs and more blood flow, so there is more wear and tear on the body. Larger bodies also take longer to heal from illness and injury.
Another reason is that larger bones, such as the hip, may break more easily than smaller bones because the larger bone has a greater chance of being struck by a fall and snapping.
Cardiovascular Disease Is a Major Cause
Cardiovascular diseases are more common in taller individuals. This may be because the heart has a longer distance to travel, pumping blood around the body. And along with this, the blood vessels are also longer, making them more prone to clots.
On the other hand, short people have smaller and thicker blood vessels that are less likely to clog up and cause cardiovascular diseases.
Cancer Is Also a Big Problem for Taller People
This is likely because taller people have a larger volume of cells in the body, so they’re more likely to accumulate mutations that could lead to cancer. But why would this be more prominent in tall people?
One explanation could be that growth hormones are responsible for all the extra inches. Growth hormones are important for building up the body during childhood and teenage years, but when the body receives extra growth hormones in adulthood, it could lead to an increased risk of cancer.
On the other hand, short people have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancers because their cells don’t grow as much as the cells in taller people, thus reducing the risk of mutations.
Diabetes as a Cause of Death
Another of the most common diseases that lead to death for tall people is diabetes. Numerous studies have found that taller individuals have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is associated with shorter lifespans.
Whether this is due to genetics, epigenetics, or the environment isn’t clear, but researchers suspect that taller people’s metabolisms might simply not be able to keep up with the increased calorie needs that come with extra height.
Another significant cause of death for taller people, especially men, is respiratory diseases. The mechanisms behind this aren’t clear, but some speculate that a combination of factors, including larger lung surface area and increased amounts of hormones like testosterone that promote spasms in the bronchial passages, put tall people at higher risk.
Genetics May Be At Play Here
Just like we inherit certain aspects of our appearance from our parents, we may also inherit certain health conditions and their risks. So perhaps taller people face more health conditions because they have inherited certain genes that shorter people don’t have.
However, this may not be the case. Since the birth rate of taller individuals has increased in recent years, it might be that environmental factors are responsible for the majority of this phenomenon.
Diet May Also Have a Role to Play
Another thing that could be contributing to taller people dying younger is diet. Now, people of all heights struggle with their diets and health conditions – but it could be that taller people tend to eat more calories than shorter people.
This could be because taller people have a higher metabolic rate, meaning they need more calories per day than shorter people. There’s also an argument that taller people are more likely to eat more to combat feelings of hunger, as shorter people will find it easier to fit a meal in their stomachs.
Research Suggestions and Recommendations
While the research behind why taller people die younger is fascinating, researchers are still actively studying the phenomenon. So far, scientists have suggested that taller people may die younger because their cells experience more DNA damage than their shorter peers. But this has yet to be proven.
Although further research is needed to confirm the exact reasons behind the phenomenon, one thing is clear: if you’re a tall person, don’t be discouraged. Instead, be aware of the risks, and make sure you’re taking steps to mitigate them.
How to Combat the Negative Effects of Being Tall and Boost Your Longevity
As we’ve seen, there are many factors at play, and unfortunately, it’s not possible to change your height. But if you’re a taller person and want to combat these negative effects, there are some things that you can do to mitigate the risks associated with being tall.
First, you should keep an eye on your weight. Being overweight can lead to a variety of health problems, so it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise.
You could try to improve your diet by including more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lean meats while avoiding sugary and high-fat foods.
You could also try to stay active by incorporating exercise into your daily life. You could also be smart about your lifestyle choices and try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, which could exacerbate any negative effects of being taller.
Second, consider talking to your doctor about diabetes prevention. The risk of diabetes increases with height, so it’s a condition that tall people are particularly susceptible to.
Depending on your age, you may also want to consider some form of preventative healthcare, like an annual flu shot or a screening for various diseases.
Why Short People Live Longer: Are Short People Healthier?
The small size comes with many benefits for many individuals, which include better health and longevity. One explanation for why short people live longer is that they may have better immunity. Shorter people are at a lower risk for certain cancers that have their roots in the body’s microenvironment.
These cancers, such as prostate and breast, are more common among taller individuals. Overall, there is a growing body of research that shows short stature is associated with lowered mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases.
There is also evidence that short stature may be linked with increased immune system function, which can be protective against cancer. One study published in 2015 showed that short men were 50% less likely to die from cancer than tall men.
Further, shorter stature may be associated with improved insulin sensitivity, which can allow the body to more effectively utilize glucose (sugar) and other nutrients. This can lead to better overall metabolic health overall and make you more able to fight off disease.
Additionally, short people may be protected against diseases due to the benefits associated with their small size, including reduced impact on joints and bones; shorter people also tend to weigh less. Therefore, it makes sense that shorter people would lead longer lives.
Finally, it’s important to remember that these findings don’t mean that taller people should become too concerned about their health. It’s important to note that taller people also tend to have higher incomes, as well as get promoted at work more often.
However, these findings do suggest that taller people should be more vigilant in terms of their health, and they should take steps to reduce their risk of disease as much as possible.