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

 


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