Height 'affects risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer'

3 February 2016

A person's height can have variable effects on their risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to a new study.

The study, led by the Deutsches Zentrum fuer Diabetesforschung, indicated that height has a significant impact on mortality from certain common diseases, irrespective of body fat mass and other potentially influential factors.

Tall people have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes than their shorter counterparts, for example, but have a higher cancer risk.

Professor Matthias Schulze of the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam said: "Epidemiological data shows that per 6.5 cm in height, the risk of cardiovascular mortality decreases by six per cent, but cancer mortality, by contrast, increases by four per cent."

It was explained that greater height may be a marker of overnutrition of high-calorie food rich in animal protein during different stages of growth, rendering them more sensitive to insulin, with lower fat content in the liver, explaining the lower cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk. 

However, conditions encouraging ongoing cell growth in taller people also puts them at an increased risk of certain cancers, especially breast cancer, colon cancer and melanoma.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


Health News is provided by Axonn Media in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Axonn Media and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)