Your Height Has A Bearing On Your Health

Today we will be exploring a topic that is interesting to some of us – and that is height. In today’s society, the height of men has been shown to influence their level of success in life, but for women – less so. As this is a health blog, we will be focusing more on how your height can influence certain elements of your health. And yes – it is based on current scientific understanding.

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What if I, or more convincingly, what if science told you women that there isn’t a height that is perfect for your health? Some research suggests that this is indeed true. The good news is that there are certain advantages to being tall and some advantages to being petite as well. In this way mother nature is fair. Lets examine some of these in this short article today.

Advantages That Taller Women Have:

One: Mind Power

No, no, no, I’m not talking about intelligence here! I’m too smart to dabble in comments that will backfire on me quickly. I’m talking more about dementia. Recently, the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine has found that women who are around 5 feet 7 inches are about half as likely to die from dementia than those who are around 5 feet 1 inch. While the reasons are unknown, they postulated that it is likely to be cause by the factors that contribute to smaller stature namely childhood illnesses, stress, and poor nutrition.

Two: A Better Heart

Just like the previous point, I am not talking about emotions, but our actual heart organ. The New England Journal of Medicine found in a recent British study that women who are around 5 feet 8 inches are almost 30% less likely to develop heart disease than those around 5 feet 3 inches. In fact, a more detailed analysis revealed that for every 2.5 inches, one is about 15% less likely to develop heart disease. The most accepted scientific explanation is that genes associated with shortness are also associated with having high LDL cholesterol levels.

DariuszSankowski / Pixabay
DariuszSankowski / Pixabay

Three: An Easier Pregnancy And Labour

Women who are five feet six inches are known to be less likely to develop gestational diabetes than those who are five feet two inches, according to a study at the City University of New York. And this was no small data set either, with the sample size at well over 200 000! Although the reasons aren’t clear, researchers suspect that the genes related to height have an effect on glucose tolerance.

Advantages That Shorter Women Have:

One: Better Blood Circulation

A study from the University of Tromso in Norway found that women under five feet two inches have less than a third likelihood of getting blood clots compared to women over this height. This is really not surprising, as taller women require blood to be pumped over a longer distance to reach the extremities. The way for tall women to mitigate this, unsurprisingly, is by ensuring that they are of a healthy weight. Not quite rocket science, is it?

Two: A Longer Life

Okay, this one is controversial and only backed by anecdotal evidence i.e. not observed directly, but derived from putting two-and-two together. Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine has found that a gene mutation that is linked to insulin-like growth factor, which also happens to be linked to height seems to also extend one’s lifespan. Of course, this does not imply that all short people have this mutation, hence our use of the word “anecdotal”.

Three: Reduced Risk Of Cancer

We’re back to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, but not anecdotal evidence this time. Epidemiological analyses have shown that being short, defined as 5 feet 2 inches or below, reduces the risk of various types of cancers as compared to being tall, defined as being over 5 feet 10 inches or taller, by a whopping 30-40%. And this applies to types of cancers such as melanomas, kidney, thyroid, colon, breast and rectal. Scientifically, taller women have larger organs and more cells, so of course their cancer risk is higher. There might also be other factors of a hormonal nature.

While the contents of this article lists the health advantages and disadvantages with being of a particular height, don’t forget that your risks of poor health can be mitigated by being fit and healthy, which is the point of this blog in the first place. You can’t control your height, but you can control other factors, like your diet, which in the big picture, is more important than your genetics anyway.

Interesting stuff:

 


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