ArticlePDF Available

The relationship between adult stature and longevity: Tall men are unlikely to outlive their short peers - Evidence from a study of all adult deaths in Poland in the years 2004-2008

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Early epidemiological studies demonstrated that short stature is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, lower energy intake or food deprivation during growth, poor health, and increased all-cause mortality. Nevertheless, the links between adult height and longevity become tenuous if certain confounders (e.g. BMI, SES, educational attainment, etc.) are allowed for. Furthermore, numerous studies have found that like excess weight, tallness is costly in terms of longevity in late ontogeny, and shorter people tend to outlive their taller peers, especially if they are slim and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Therefore, there is currently a lack of agreement in the literature as to whether and how body height and lifespan are linked. The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between adult stature and longevity on the basis of a large sample from a population-based cohort study. Data on declared height and exact dates of birth and death were available from 480,493 men and 364,666 women who died in the years 2004-2008 in Poland. To control for secular changes, the sample was divided into fifteen birth cohorts and each group was subsequently split into five height categories using pentiles, separately for both sexes. The analysis has revealed an inverse relationship between height and lifespan in men and women. However, after controlling for secular changes in height, the relationship turned out to be very weak and linear in men, and inverted U-shaped in women. In general, taller individuals had lower age at death compared to shorter ones, and this relationship was more pronounced and consistent in men. To sum up, these findings do not comport with the traditional belief that taller individuals live longer. The role of several possible biological mechanisms pertinent to enhanced longevity in smaller individuals was emphasized, and these biological factors were discussed.
Content may be subject to copyright.
AnthropologicAl review • Vol. 79(4), 439–460 (2016)
The relationship between adult stature and
longevity: tall men are unlikely to outlive their
short peers – evidence from a study of all adult
deaths in Poland in the years 2004–2008
Piotr Chmielewski
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Wrocław Medical University, Poland
AbstrAct: Early epidemiological studies demonstrated that short stature is associated with cardiovascular
disease (CVD), diabetes, lower energy intake or food deprivation during growth, poor health, and increased
all-cause mortality. Nevertheless, the links between adult height and longevity become tenuous if certain
confounders (e.g. BMI, SES, educational attainment, etc.) are allowed for. Furthermore, numerous studies
have found that like excess weight, tallness is costly in terms of longevity in late ontogeny, and shorter
people tend to outlive their taller peers, especially if they are slim and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Therefore, there is currently a lack of agreement in the literature as to whether and how body height and
lifespan are linked. The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between adult stature and
longevity on the basis of a large sample from a population-based cohort study. Data on declared height and
exact dates of birth and death were available from 480,493 men and 364,666 women who died in the years
20042008 in Poland. To control for secular changes, the sample was divided into fteen birth cohorts and
each group was subsequently split into ve height categories using pentiles, separately for both sexes. The
analysis has revealed an inverse relationship between height and lifespan in men and women. However,
after controlling for secular changes in height, the relationship turned out to be very weak and linear in
men, and inverted U-shaped in women. In general, taller individuals had lower age at death compared to
shorter ones, and this relationship was more pronounced and consistent in men. To sum up, these ndings
do not comport with the traditional belief that taller individuals live longer. The role of several possible
biological mechanisms pertinent to enhanced longevity in smaller individuals was emphasized, and these
biological factors were discussed.
Key words: aging, body height, life expectancy, lifespan, longevity, mortality, predictor
Introduction
A multitude of studies have shown that
short stature is associated with lower
energy intake during growth and devel-
opment, inadequate diet and nutrition,
poor health, low socioeconomic status
(SES), and increased risk of cardiovas-
cular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus,
and premature death (for a review, see
Original Article Received: September 19, 2016; Accepted for publication: November 23, 2016
DOI: 10.1515/anre- 2016-0032
© 2016 Polish Anthropological Society
Piotr Chmielewski
Short stature is related to greater longevity
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
440 Piotr Chmielewski
Austad 2010; Özaltin 2012; Perkins et al.
2016). Moreover, anthropological inves-
tigations have revealed that body height
correlates positively with social mobility,
SES, remuneration, educational attain-
ment, health, physical attractiveness in
men, and their reproductive success, at
least in Western societies (Kemkes-Grot-
tenthaler 2005; Sear 2006; Pawłowski
2012). For several decades, researchers
have been trying to ascertain whether
tallness is costly in later life in terms of
longevity, which would act as some type
of compensation, according to the hand-
icap principle. The nal results remain
mixed because the relationship between
adult height and longevity is weak and
tenuous and can be modied by numer-
ous factors, such as body mass index
(BMI), body fat percentage (BFP), SES,
causes of short stature, illness, etc.
Thus, in general, being tall and slim
has long been considered a superior
conguration for humans in terms of
healthspan and longevity, but it turns out
that data supporting this view come from
mortality studies that do not track the
entire cohort to death. As regards mor-
tality, ahost of studies have demonstrat-
ed that taller individuals outlive their
shorter peers (for a review, see Austad
2010; Özaltin 2012; Perkins et al. 2016),
especially when certain confounding fac-
tors, such as BMI, SES, and education-
al attainment, are not controlled in the
analysis. Nonetheless, after controlling
for such types of confounders, adult stat-
ure fails to predict CVD morbidity and
mortality in some populations (Liao et
al. 1996; Murray 1997; Sear 2006), and
after allowing for some CVD risk factors,
short stature alone is not linked to ele-
vated risk of all-cause or cardiovascular
mortality in either sex, though it is relat-
ed to increased risk of myocardial infarc-
tion in women but not in men (Kannam
et al. 1994). Moreover, it should be noted
that deaths before age 65 or 70 are pre-
mature, and thus such analyses do not
provide insights into what is benecial in
terms of longevity.
Likewise, the results of compara-
tive studies of the association between
body size and longevity in animals can
be misleading. Although large mammals
(e.g. whales, elephants) live signicant-
ly longer than small ones (e.g. pygmy
shrews, mice), numerous studies have
found that within the species the small-
er individuals have greater longevity, and
smaller mice, dogs, cows etc. live signi-
cantly longer than bigger ones (Miller et
al. 2002; Rollo 2002; Miller and Austad
2006; Bartke 2012). To date, the inverse
relationship between body size and lon-
gevity was conrmed in many different
mammalian species. Furthermore, more
recent studies suggest that higher rates
of growth and greater body size may be
costly in terms of longevity in humans
(Bartke 2012; He et al. 2014; Samaras
2014) despite the fact that during pro-
gressive ontogeny they can be used as
reliable proxies for environmental con-
ditions, standard of living, SES, lifestyle,
and general health status. The present
study aims to investigate whether lifes-
pan depends on adult stature within the
Polish population, and whether the as-
sociation between these two life history
parameters is positive or negative.
Materials and methods
To evaluate the relationship between
adult height and longevity in the Polish
population, data on adult stature and ex-
act dates of birth and death from 845,159
individuals, including 480,493 men and
364,666 women, were analyzed. The
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 441
study data were obtained from two elec-
tronic databases at the Ministry of Inter-
nal Affairs and Administration in War-
saw, Poland, i.e. the Universal Electronic
System for Registration of the Population
(sex, dates of birth and death), and from
the State Register of Issued and Invali-
dated Identity Cards (declared body
height), and concerned all adult deaths
in the years 2004–2008 in Poland.
The collected data have a number of
advantages. First, the study sample is
large and representative for the whole
studied population, which is crucial and
indispensible for the analysis of the stud-
ied relationship as gathering alarge sam-
ple that is representative for the whole
population of the country is a sine qua
non prerequisite in such studies. This is
necessary because body height is an eco-
sensitive feature, determined by many
biological and social factors, while the
variation in lifespan as well as in body
size in every human population is large
and signicant. Furthermore, there are
numerous dened or unknown selec-
tion factors which can easily inuence
the results of such investigations. Sec-
ond, the study sample is heterogeneous
and concerns typical causes of death, i.e.
the causes of death in the study sample
are the same as in the total population
(Chmielewski and Borysławski 2015).
Even randomly chosen data sets con-
cerning several thousand subjects are
described by some researchers as insuf-
ciently random and large as various lo-
cal factors, mainly the level of pollution,
smog, radiation, and climatic factors,
and above all different social and biolog-
ical factors can easily distort the image
of the investigated relationship. Despite
these reservations many epidemiologi-
cal and anthropological studies involve
data from small geographical areas, i.e.
cities or districts where the residents
are affected by specic local factors (e.g.
smog), obtained in a short period of
time, or concerning individuals who died
of a specic disease (CVD, myocardial
infarction, cancer, etc.), which is justied
for practical reasons but has anegative ef-
fect on the value of research and validity
of such conclusions. Third, an important
advantage of the analyzed study material
is the high reliability of data on dates of
birth and death, which were proven by
relevant documents. According to many
authors, the use of the declared body
height is justied, or at least acceptable,
in a situation when measurements can-
not be taken. This is because in young
and older adults, there is ahigh and sta-
tistically signicant correlation between
the self-reported and measured values of
body height, especially if height is given
for ofcial purposes, and not for matri-
monial ones. On the other hand, some
respondents tend to overestimate their
Table 1. Number of subjects in the consecutive
birth cohorts for both sexes.
Birth cohort N
Men Women Total
1896–1910 1762 5017 6779
1911–1915 8023 18557 26580
1916–1920 19989 34861 54850
1921–1925 51588 71157 122745
1926–1930 73138 70924 144062
1931–1935 73350 51055 124405
1936–1940 59876 33827 93703
1941–1945 41720 21094 62814
1946–1950 49156 22940 72096
1951–1955 40661 16150 56811
1956–1960 27135 9431 36566
1961–1965 13890 4299 18189
1966–1970 8634 2344 10978
1971–1975 6510 1684 8194
1976–1980 5061 1326 6387
Total 480493 364666 845159
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
442 Piotr Chmielewski
body height (usually by 1-2 cm), and this
more frequently happens with young
men as well as with short individuals,
while very tall subjects usually indicate
slightly lower values of height than actu-
al (Brener et al. 2003; Sherry et al. 2007;
Danubio et al. 2008; Krul et al. 2010;
Bowring et al. 2012). There is another
salient criterion that should be included
in such investigations and that is met by
the study material, namely the research
should be based solely on data gathered
specically to clarify the effect of body
size, i.e. body height, on lifespan, and not
on the secondary use of material collect-
ed previously for another purposes, espe-
cially if the material is cross-sectional and
there is a high risk of the cohort effect
(Kościński et al. 2009). A disadvantage
of the collected data is that the analysis
Table 2. Body height values pertinent to centiles that were used to divide each birth cohort into ve height
categories in both sexes.
Sex Birth cohort NCentiles (cm)
20 40 60 80
Men
1896–1910 1762 160 165 170 173
1911–1915 8023 162 165 170 174
1916–1920 19989 164 168 170 175
1921–1925 51588 164 168 171 175
1926–1930 73138 165 170 172 175
1931–1935 73350 165 170 172 176
1936–1940 59876 165 170 172 176
1941–1945 41720 167 170 174 176
1946–1950 49156 168 170 175 177
1951–1955 40661 168 172 176 178
1956–1960 27135 170 173 176 180
1961–1965 13890 170 174 176 180
1966–1970 8634 170 175 177 181
1971–1975 6510 172 176 178 182
1976–1980 5061 172 176 180 183
Women
1896–1910 5017 150 155 158 160
1911–1915 18557 150 155 158 161
1916–1920 34861 152 156 160 163
1921–1925 71157 154 158 160 164
1926–1930 70924 155 158 160 164
1931–1935 51055 155 159 161 165
1936–1940 33827 156 160 162 165
1941–1945 21094 156 160 163 165
1946–1950 22940 158 160 164 165
1951–1955 16150 158 160 164 165
1956–1960 9431 158 160 164 167
1961–1965 4299 158 162 164 168
1966–1970 2344 159 163 165 168
1971–1975 1684 160 164 167 170
1976–1980 1326 160 164 167 170
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 443
did not consider potentially signicant
confounding factors which can affect the
investigated relationships and may mod-
ify them in various ways. Unfortunately,
it was not possible to compare people of
the same body weight or proportions be-
cause no such data (e.g. on somatotype,
BMI, body fat, etc.) were available for the
study sample. Likewise, the study did not
allow for health status, diet, nutrition,
SES, income, specic causes of death,
aging-associated alterations in height,
proximal causative factors proposed
in the literature, e.g. hormonal prole,
growth rate during progressive ontogeny,
detrimental effects of catch-up growth,
the place of residence (urban/rural), and
so forth. Nonetheless, it seems that the
relationship between adult height and
lifespan can be assessed based on the
study sample used for the analysis.
To control for the secular changes in
body height and the cohort effect, the
whole sample was divided into fteen
birth cohorts (Table 1), and subsequent-
ly each group was split into ve height
categories using centiles (pentiles): very
short (0–20), short (21–40), average
(41–60), tall (61–80), very tall (81–100)
(Table 2). Statistical analysis was per-
formed separately for both sexes. Cor-
relation analysis and ANOVA, including
the method of remnant variation, along
with Fisher’s Least Signicant Differ-
ence (LSD) test were run. The normality
of the data distribution was tested with
the goodness-of-t test for a normal
distribution.
Results
In the study sample, both height and
lifespan were normally distributed. In
general, men were taller than wom-
en (171.6±6.6 cm vs. 159.6±6.2 cm;
F=1.14; p<0.001) and lived signicantly
shorter (67.9±13.8 years vs. 75.0±12.7
years; F=1.19; p<0.001).
In the rst cohort, i.e. the group
concerning subjects born in the years
1896–1910 (1,762 men and 5,017 wom-
en), the differences in lifespan between
height categories were on the border of
statistical signicance in men (F=2.30;
p=0.057) and statistically signicant in
women (F=3.61; p=0.006). In both sex-
es, very short subjects had the highest
age at death, while tall subjects had the
lowest age at death (Fig. 1A).
In the next birth cohort (subjects
born in the years 1911–1915, 8,023 men
and 18,557 women), the differences in
lifespan were statistically signicant
in men (F=4.41; p=0.001) but not in
women (F=1.57; p=0.179). In men, very
short and short individuals lived signif-
icantly longer than the rest, while tall
subjects had the lowest age at death (Fig.
1B). In women, on the other hand, no
relationship between height and lifespan
was observed.
In the birth cohort 1916–1920
(19,989 men and 34,861 women), aclear
inverse relationship between adult
height and lifespan was observed in
men (F=17.39; p<0.001) and women
(F=20.07; p<0.001). In both sexes, very
short and short subjects had the highest
age at death, whereas the lowest age at
death was found for very tall men and
tall women (Fig. 1C). The differences
between tall and very tall subjects were
nonsignicant.
In the birth cohort 1921–1925 (51,588
men and 71,157 women), lifespan of both
sexes depends on adult height, and the
differences were statistically signicant
(F=9.66; p<0.001 for men; F=14.76;
p<0.001 for women). The highest age
at death was found for the categories of
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
444 Piotr Chmielewski
very short stature, while the lowest age
at death occurred in the categories of tall
stature in both sexes (Fig. 1D).
The same pattern occurred in the
birth cohort 1926–1930 (73,138 men
and 70,924 women) and, thus, the dif-
ferences were statistically signicant
(F=10.90; p<0.001; F=16.32; p<0.001,
respectively), and very short individuals
lived, on average, longer than subjects
from other height categories (Fig. 2A).
Likewise, in the cohort 1931–1935
(73,350 men and 51,055 women), the
highest age at death had the shortest
subjects, while the lowest age at death
had the tallest men and tall women
(Fig. 2B). In both sexes, the differences
between means were statistically sig-
nicant (F=11.22; p<0.001 for men;
F=19.91; p<0.001 for women).
Also, an inverse and steady relation-
ship between adult stature and longev-
ity was observed in subjects born in
the years 1936–1940 (59,876 men and
33,827 women; Fig. 2C), with the dif-
ferences being statistically signicant
in men (F=2.90; p= 0.020) and women
(F=3.24; p=0.011).
The same pattern was found for the
birth cohort 1941–1945 (41,720 men
and 21,094 women). Thus, the arith-
metic means differed signicantly in
men (F=10.32; p<0.001) and women
(F=4.33; p=0.002), and the smallest
subjects had the greatest longevity (Fig.
2D).
Fig. 1. The association between adult height and lifespan in men and women born in the years 1896–1925
and categorized into ve height groups using pentiles; data for rst four birth cohorts (A–D) are shown
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 445
Similarly, the relationship between
adult height and longevity was negative
and linear in men from the birth cohort
1946–1950 (N=49,156), with the dif-
ferences being statistically signicant in
both sexes (F=8.01; p<0.001; F=3.46;
p=0.008, respectively). However, un-
expectedly, tall women had the highest
age at death, while women with short
and average stature had the lowest age at
death (Fig. 3A).
In the cohort 1951–1955 (40,661
men and 16,150 women), as in the pre-
vious birth cohort, the association be-
tween height and lifespan was linear
and inverse in men but tall women had
the highest age at death (Fig. 3B). The
analysis has revealed that the differenc-
es in mean lifespan were signicant in
men (F=20.74; p<0.001) and women
(F=3.46; p=0.008).
Once again, the typical pattern was
observed in the birth cohort 1956–1960
(27,135 men and 9,431 women) and,
thus, the smallest individuals of both
sexes had the greatest longevity (Fig.
3C), and the differences were statistical-
ly signicant in men (F=19.44; p<0.001)
as well as in women (F=15.31; p<0.001).
Also, in the birth cohort 1961–1965
(13,890 men and 4,299 women) the
differences were signicant (F=9.03;
p<0.001; F=4.26; p=0.002, respective-
ly), and the shortest men, as well as short
women, had the highest age at death (Fig.
3D), albeit the differences in lifespan
Fig. 2. The association between adult height and lifespan in men and women born in the years 1926–1945
and categorized into ve height groups using pentiles; data for next four birth cohorts (A–D) are shown
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
446 Piotr Chmielewski
between the neighboring categories of
height in women were nonsignicant.
Likewise, an inverse relationship was
found for men who were born in the
years 1966–1970 (N=8,634), while there
were no statistically signicant differenc-
es in lifespan of women from ve cate-
gories, except for the tallest women who
lived signicantly shorter compared with
the other groups (Fig. 4A). In general,
the arithmetic means were signicantly
differentiated in men (F=2.91; p=0.020)
and women (F=3.23; p=0.012).
In the cohort 1971–1975 (6,510 men
and 1,684 women), ANOVA has revealed
statistically signicant differences in men
(F=11.12; p<0.001) but not in women
(F=0.44; p=0.777). The highest age at
death had the shortest men, whereas the
tallest ones had the lowest age at death.
In women, however, no directional asso-
ciation between adult height and lifespan
was found (Fig. 4B).
In the last cohort, i.e. the group con-
cerning the individuals born in the years
1976–1980 (5,061 men and 1,326 wom-
en), the arithmetic means are differen-
tiated in men (F=3.63; p=0.006) and
women (F=3.28; p=0.011). The highest
age at death was found for short men and
women, while the lowest age at death oc-
curred in the categories of average stat-
ure in both sexes (Fig. 4C).
Fig. 3. The association between adult height and lifespan in men and women born in the years 1946–1965
and categorized into ve height groups using pentiles; data for next four birth cohorts (A–D) are shown
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 447
As regards the analysis concerning
the association between stature and lon-
gevity in the oldest old subjects, i.e. 85
years of age and older, tallness was neg-
atively associated with lifespan in both
sexes. In men (N=39,191), the correla-
tion between adult height and longevi-
ty was very weak and negative (r=–0.1;
p<0.001), and after the elimination of
secular changes in body height it was
–0.03 and p<0.001, respectively (Fig. 5A
and 6A). In women (N=75,405), the re-
lationship turned out to be inverse and
very weak (r=–0.13; p<0.001), and after
adjusting for secular trends in height it
changed into –0.06 and p<0.001, respec-
tively (Fig. 5B and 6B).
Discussion
The science of aging seems to be fraught
with misinterpretations. For example,
the well-known dualism of stochastic
and programmed theories of aging is
in fact obsolete and discarded (Rattan
2006). Like the processes of graying hair
and wrinkle formation, lifespan does not
measure the rate of aging (Kowald 2002;
Heward 2010). The rates and measures
of survival, such as all-cause mortality,
life expectancy, and longevity, do not cor-
respond to each other and provide dif-
ferent information (Chmielewski et al.
2016a). Likewise, healthspan does not
correspond to lifespan. It is well estab-
lished that men are physically stronger
Fig. 4. The association between adult height and lifespan in men and women born in the years 1966–1980
and categorized into ve height groups using pentiles; data for last three birth cohorts (A–C) are shown
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
448 Piotr Chmielewski
Fig. 5. The relationship between adult height and longevity in men (A) and women (B) from the oldest old
group (85 years of age and older)
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 449
Fig. 6. The relationship between adult height and longevity in men (A) and women (B) from the oldest old
group (85 years of age and older) after eliminating the secular changes in body height which interfered
with the observed relationship between adult stature and lifespan
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
450 Piotr Chmielewski
than women and have relatively longer
healthspan (Eskes and Haanen 2007;
Møller et al. 2009), but women remain
less susceptible to many diseases and
signicantly less vulnerable to environ-
mental factors compared with men (Stini
1969; 1978; Stinson 1985). The genetic
and developmental stability in women is
increased presumably due to the homog-
ametic state (Austad 2006). In addition,
estrogens play an important protective
role, and in women mitochondria pro-
duce less reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Consequently, women tend to live longer
than men despite the fact that their
healthspan is relatively shorter (Stindl
2004; Austad 2006; Eskes and Haanen
2007; Møller et al. 2009; Caruso et al.
2013; Chmielewski et al. 2016c).
Similarly, the well-known inverse
relationship between adult height and
mortality, which has been demonstrated
in an abundance of studies, may be in
fact spurious, or at least conned to pop-
ulations with low SES and high mortality
rates, because nal adult stature strong-
ly depends on health, diet, nutrition,
energy intake, and SES during growth
and development. It is noteworthy that
excess weight, which is not infrequently
associated with lower mortality in such
populations, also seems to be apredic-
tor of longer life expectancy (Flegal et
al. 2005). However, it is unlikely that
overweight people have a longevity ad-
vantage over slim people. Thus, excess
weight as apredictor of longevity is most
likely an artifact that result from the fact
that slimmer individuals in some popu-
lations, and especially in those with low
SES and high mortality rates, tend to be
undernourished and ill (e.g. emaciation
and marasums due to extremely low
food energy consumption, cachexia due
to chronic diseases, etc.). It is notewor-
thy that most studies did not compare
tall and short individuals of similar body
proportions, and thus it is possible that
many ndings result from different types
of artifacts. Likewise, adjusting for risk
factors can be acrude and inexact pro-
cess. Poor health or factors like smoking
can easily affect the nal results. Year of
birth is often an important confounding
factor because younger birth cohorts are
taller and have longer life expectancy
compared to older cohorts. Another con-
founder can be the fact that those sub-
jects who have spent their entire lives in
the upper class are taller and have low-
er mortality than upper class men who
were born in lower classes and worked
up to the upper class. They are taller than
those who remained in the lower class-
es all their lives. Some insurance studies
have found that taller men have alower
mortality that shorter men. However,
the shorter subjects were more over-
weight than the taller ones. Wilhelmsen
et al. 2011 tracked agroup of 67-year old
Swedish men to 90 years of age, and this
investigation has revealed that men who
were shorter at baseline were more like-
ly to reach 90 years of age compared to
taller men.
It has previously been established
that body height is a good and reliable
proxy for health status at both progres-
sive and regressive stages of ontogeny,
and tallness is believed to be associated
with better health, higher SES, reduced
all-cause mortality, and longer life expec-
tancy (Waaler 1984; Nyström Peck and
Vågerö 1987; Holl et al. 1991; Allebeck
and Bergh 1992; Elo and Preston 1992;
Herbert et al. 1993; Power and Matthews
1997; Silventoinen et al. 1999; Cave-
laars et al. 2000; Jousilahti et al. 2000;
Lawlor et al. 2002; 2004; Engeland et al.
2003; Kemkes-Grottenthaler 2005; Song
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 451
and Sung 2008; Austad 2010; Kirkwood
2010; Özaltin 2012; Chmielewski et al.
2015a; 2015b; 2016a; 2016b; Perkins et
al. 2016). The better health status, nutri-
tion, environmental conditions, medical
care, and prophylaxis during the progres-
sive development, the taller the individ-
uals are in agiven population. For exam-
ple, arecent study of children in Tanzania
showed that children who lost a father
before the age of 15 tended to be sig-
nicantly shorter and lived shorter than
their peers who had afather (Kirkwood
2010). Interestingly, those children who
lost amother were even shorter and lived
shorter than their peers who had amoth-
er and than those who lost afather. Prob-
ably until late adulthood, height can be
used as areliable and genuine proxy for
health. Moreover, adult stature is pos-
itively associated with socioeconomic
status (SES), social mobility, educational
attainment, remuneration, and physical
attractiveness, especially in men in West-
ern countries, while it is inversely relat-
ed to mortality and risk of many diseas-
es (Sear 2006; Özaltin 2012; Pawłowski
2012). Furthermore, tallness may confer
protection against some types of cancer,
including mouth, esophagus, and gas-
tric (Leoncini et al. 2014; Perkins et al.
2016), which is consistent with many
previous investigations showing that
short stature reects childhood illness,
low energy intake, low SES, and poor
health outcomes in later life (Davey
Smith et al. 2000; Özaltin 2012; Perkins
et al. 2016). Therefore, height has long
been used as a crude indicator of the
nutritional health and disease exposure
in numerous human populations by ep-
idemiologists, demographers, anthropol-
ogists, physicians, and economists. As
aresult, the majority of researchers and
scholars still believe that taller individu-
als are generally healthier and less prone
to many diseases than their shorter peers
(Austad 2010). Other epidemiological,
biodemographic, and bioarcheological
studies have demonstrated that shorter
people have increased mortality, and con-
siderably lower age at death compared
to taller ones (Peck and Vågerö 1989;
Läärä and Rantakallio 1996; Lawlor et
al. 2002; 2004; Engeland et al. 2003;
Kemkes-Grottenthaler 2005; Song and
Sung 2008; Özaltin 2012), which seems
to be acoincidental rather than acausal
relationship, which means that in some
samples tallness is coincidentally linked
to better health and survival, but short-
ness alone does not predict shorter life
expectancy, especially when BMI, SES,
and educational attainment are allowed
for (Sear 2006; Samaras 2014).
Although early epidemiological stud-
ies have shown that short stature is as-
sociated with cardiovascular disease
(CVD), diabetes, lower energy intake
or food deprivation during growth, poor
health, and increased all-cause mortal-
ity, the link between adult height and
longevity becomes tenuous when cer-
tain confounding factors, such as BMI,
SES, and educational attainment, are
controlled for. Furthermore, more re-
cent studies have found that like excess
weight, tallness is costly in terms of lon-
gevity in late ontogeny (Gavrilov and
Gavrilova 2008), and shorter people tend
to outlive their taller peers, especially if
they are slim and maintain ahealthy diet
and lifestyle (Samaras 2014). Therefore,
there is currently a lack of agreement
in the literature as to whether and how
body height and lifespan are linked. Nu-
merous recent studies have challenged
the traditional view that tallness pre-
dicts greater longevity. It is now well
established that the association between
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
452 Piotr Chmielewski
adult height and mortality is in fact het-
erogeneous and complicated, and several
large studies have found apositive asso-
ciation between height and, for instance,
some types of cancer (Dieckemann et al.
2008; Cairns and Green 2013; Kabat et
al. 2013a; 2013b; Wirén et al. 2014; Jiang
et al. 2015). Furthermore, dwarsm and
signicantly reduced levels of hormones
(e.g. GH and IGF-1) and other biological
factors that stimulate growth are associ-
ated with extended longevity in model
organisms such as mice (Bartke 2012).
Interestingly, diet-induced alterations in
the concentration of these factors can
confer survival advantage in both an-
imals and humans, and many studies
have found that smaller individuals out-
live their taller peers, especially if they
remain slim, and the BMI and SES of
compared individuals are commensurate
(Samaras 2014). It was also suggested
that smaller body size can offer advantag-
es in terms of healthy aging and longev-
ity in late ontogeny (Wilhelmsen et al.
2011; Salaris et al. 2012; He et al. 2014;
Samaras 2014). Therefore, although his-
torical demographers argue that smaller
individuals have increased mortality and
shorter life expectancy, biologists and
gerontologists contend that small body
size may be preferable for longevity, if
short stature does not result from illness
associated with retarded growth during
progressive ontogeny but from the type
of physical constitution. Gavrilova and
Gavrilov (2008) assert that “biologists
are rmly convinced that asmall body
size is preferable for longevity”. Moreo-
ver, this nding makes perfect sense in
the light of the hyperfunction theory of
aging (Blagosklonny 2013), as well as
some other molecular mechanisms relat-
ed to aging and longevity (Bartke 2012;
Bartke et al. 2013; He et al. 2014; Sa-
maras 2014).
Notwithstanding these ndings,
which seem compelling, many authors
do not agree that the traditional view,
according to which taller people are
healthier and live longer, is in fact inva-
lid or at least challenged. Austad (2010)
states explicitly that: “Economists and
historians often use height as an indica-
tor of the nutritional health and disease
exposure of human populations and as
such an indicator in dozens of studies,
greater height correlates with longer life.
Samaras, astrident advocate of the oppo-
site view that shorter humans live longer
than taller ones – reaches his conclusion
by comparing heights of different sexes
or different countries or ethnic groups
within acountry with one another. Due
to variation in hormonal milieu, diet,
lifestyle, and multiple other factors in his
analyses, it is difcult to evaluate these
claims in the face of amountain of oppos-
ing epidemiological evidence”. Also, oth-
er researchers maintain that amultitude
of studies have shown that adult height
correlates positively with health, wealth,
SES, social mobility, and life expectancy,
but if one compares different populations
(like e.g. Samaras et al. 2003), the re-
sults can be opposite to the results from
arelatively homogenous population. For
example, shorter, on average, Japanese
people tend to live longer than relatively
taller Europeans. This approach seems
inappropriate as it does not allow for ge-
netic differences associated with various
adaptations to different conditions of liv-
ing. An assessment of men’s health with-
in agiven ethnic group would be amuch
better approach. It should be remem-
bered that body height may be a very
indirect cause of differences in incidence
of different diseases and there are many
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 453
more important factors, such as diet, nu-
trition, and lifestyle, which have asignif-
icantly greater inuence on, for instance,
coronary heart disease (CHD) than body
height alone (Pawłowski 2009).
For comparative purposes, mean
lifespan of subjects who differed in body
height, and who were thus classied into
ve height categories, was used in the
present study. The relationship between
adult stature and longevity was evaluat-
ed within one population, and therefore
the results are unlikely to be encumbered
with effects of genetic or ethnic differ-
ences. The analysis concerning longevi-
ty was conned to subjects aged 85 and
above. These two approaches may seem
straightforward but are useful, and they
have been employed in numerous pre-
vious studies. In the rst type of analy-
sis, lifespan of subjects who differed in
height was compared only within con-
secutive birth cohorts, where the dif-
ferences in lifespan were limited. Thus,
the well-known problem of considerable
variability in human lifespan, which is
often raised, was curbed. The results of
this analysis unambiguously show that
shorter men tend to live longer, but the
relationship between adult stature and
lifespan in women is tenuous. In the
studied population, the negative asso-
ciation between height and lifespan is
more pronounced in men than in wom-
en, which may be attributable to great-
er ecosensitivity of the male sex (Stini
1969; 1978; Stinson 1985). Interesting-
ly, the links between height and lifespan
are more tenuous in individuals under
the age of 85 compared with individuals
aged 85 and over. This observation lends
credence to the hypothesis that longev-
ity depends on adult height and shorter
individuals tend to live longer than tall-
er ones as the negative association be-
tween height and lifespan is young and
middle-aged people is unanticipated.
Thus, in young and middle-aged peo-
ple, lifespan usually does not depend on
adult stature, mainly due to the fact that
deaths before age 65 are premature. By
contrast, deaths after age 85 are closely
related to the ravages of the aging pro-
cess, and longevity may favor smaller and
slimmer individuals (Bartke 2012).
There are at least two causes of the
observed inverse correlation between
height and lifespan, which could explain
the ndings and which do not pertain to
biological mechanisms responsible for
greater longevity of smaller individuals.
First, individuals born earlier were signif-
icantly shorter than those who were born
later (the secular changes in height), and
the latter lived signicantly shorter than
the former (the cohort effect) because the
lifetime of each subject lasted until the
xed limit of the years 2004–2008. Sec-
ond, long-lived subjects are also shorter,
on average, than their short-lived peers
as they experience the regressive chang-
es in body height for arelatively longer
time (Sorkin et al. 1999; Chmielewski
et al. 2015a; 2015b; 2016b). Although
only the rst effect was controlled in
the present study, the second one is un-
likely to blur the longevity picture. The
age-related changes in height consist in
decrease and not increase in height and
therefore such aging-associated changes
can enhance the studied association, i.e.
shorter stature in older individuals, but
cannot distort it.
There are several possible biological
mechanisms pertinent to enhanced lon-
gevity in smaller individuals (Table 3).
Smaller individuals have reduced DNA
damage as molecular damage increas-
es with taller stature (Giovannelli et al.
2002). Some studies have found that
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
454 Piotr Chmielewski
body size is inversely related to telomere
length, and shorter people tend to have
longer telomeres (Maier et al. 2008). Pre-
sumably longer telomeres and a slower
rate of shortening in telomere length, as
well as lower level of oxidative damage
are associated with increased longevity
and decreased risk of some aging-asso-
ciated diseases such as CVD (Samaras
2014). Interestingly, hypertension is as-
sociated with increased oxidative stress
(Baradaran et al. 2014), and is also ama-
jor risk factor of atherosclerosis, stroke,
chronic kidney failure (CKF), coronary
heart disease (CHD), heart failure, and
myocardial infarction. Thus, higher arte-
rial blood pressure is astrong predictor
of ashortened life expectancy (Chobani-
an et al. 2003; Franco et al. 2005). Some
authors claim that lower blood pressure,
which is associated with decreased risk
of CVD, CHD, myocardial infarction,
stroke, and premature death, can be at-
tributed to biological mechanisms that
are responsible for greater longevity in
smaller individuals (Samaras 2014).
Shorter and slimmer people have lower
insulin and IGF-1 levels, which are re-
lated to greater longevity. Furthermore,
increased insulin, insulin-like growth
factor 1 (IGF-1), growth hormone
(GH), mechanistic target of rapamycin
(mTOR), adiponectin, C-reactive protein
(CRP), some binding proteins such as
IGFBP-1, and sex hormone binding glob-
ulin (SHBG) have anegative impact on
longevity in humans and tend to increase
with body size, i.e. body height, weight,
BMI, or with all three. As regards cellular
aspects of senescence, some studies have
suggested that shorter and slimmer in-
dividuals have signicantly reduced free
Table 3. Selected biological factors and mechanisms providing smaller individuals with longevity advan-
tages.
Biological factors Explanation
Reduced molecular damage
and lower level of oxidative
stress due to lower ROS
generation
Lower risk of many diseases, including CVD and cancer.
For example, hypertension is strongly associated with high level of oxi-
dative damage. Increased generation of ROS and high level of molecular
damage are closely related to higher risk of cancer and premature death.
Longer telomeres and slower
rate of telomere attrition It has been established that telomere length, which can be affected by var-
ious lifestyle factors, can affect the pace of aging as well as the onset of
aging-associated diseases. In general, shorter telomeres and faster process
of telomere shortening are associated with poor health and shorter life
expectancy.
Lower total number of cells
and a greater mitotic poten-
tial of cells
Reduced cell replication and telomere attrition due to lower life-long
maintenance requirements; presumably lower risk of cancer at different
anatomic sites. Moreover, lower blood glucose level, insulin, and IGF-1;
presumably reduced oxidative damage and improved survival. CR is as-
sociated with lower blood pressure and lower risk of many age-related
diseases, including CVD and cancer.
Lower blood pressure Longer life expectancy and lower risk of renal failure, left ventricular hy-
pertrophy, and other consequences of high blood pressure.
Relatively lower BMI Increasing BMI promotes some chronic diseases, including diabetes, CVD,
and cancer.
Lower intake of toxins Shorter and slimmer people tend to have lower food energy intake and
water consumption.
Lower levels of insulin, GH,
IGF-1, SHBP, CRP, mTOR They increase with greater cell growth and taller stature at the organismal
level and are also related to shorter life expectancy.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 455
radical generation. Moreover, lower cell
number in shorter subjects, relatively
lower need for new cells of the shorter or-
ganism compared to taller one, and low-
er level of ROS generation is associated
with slower aging and decreased risk of
cancer and other aging-associated diseas-
es such as CVD. In shorter individuals,
the size of some internal organs, such as
the liver, kidneys, and brain, is relative-
ly larger, and larger organs have greater
functional capacity. There can be many
other biological factors that favor small-
er individuals in terms of healthspan and
longevity. For example, He et al. 2014
found that shorter American men of Jap-
anese ancestry have ahigher expression
of FOXO3 gene, which is related to im-
proved survival and greater longevity.
In addition to the supports provided
by biological factors for the greater lon-
gevity of shorter people, evidence from
eight different types of studies supports
the advantages of smaller body size.
These include (Samaras 2014): (1) ex-
tensive research involving animal and
human subjects shows that within aspe-
cies, the smaller individuals tend to live
longer. (2) Hundreds of animal studies
show that caloric restriction reduces body
size and increases longevity; it seems
that both caloric restriction and small-
er body size contribute independently
to greater longevity. (3) Females are, on
average, smaller than males and have en-
hanced longevity; e.g. U.S. males are 9%
taller than females and have a9% shorter
life expectancy. In this study, men aver-
aged 8% taller and had a10% shorter life
expectancy. Interestingly, other studies
have also found that among nonhuman
species, larger females do not live as long
as smaller males within the same spe-
cies, and therefore sexual dimorphism in
lifespan can be associated with the differ-
ences in body size of both sexes and oth-
er related factors (e.g. the rate of growth
and development, GH, the insulin/IGF-1
signaling pathway, mTOR, etc.) within
agiven species. (4) Ethnic groups within
the U.S. show a progressive increase in
age-adjusted mortality with the increase
in average height of each ethnic group,
and these include results based on about
18 million deaths over a15-year period.
This advantage is strongest in the rst
generation of Latinos and declines, or
even disappears, with subsequent gen-
erations since they are often taller and
heavier than the rst generation. (5) Old
age survival studies show that shorter
people are more likely to reach advanced
ages compared to taller people (e.g. Wil-
helmsen et al. 2011). (6) The relation-
ship between shorter height and greater
longevity has been found among vari-
ous races and ethnic groups, independ-
ent of the nation’s economic status. (7)
In general, life expectancy is greater for
shorter nations when both taller (e.g. the
Dutch people, Norwegians, and Finns)
and shorter nations (e.g. the mainland
Japanese people, Okinawans, the people
of Andorra, and so forth) are developed.
(8) By and large, ahost of studies have
shown that centenarians and supercente-
narians tend to be short and light.
Conclusions
A growing body of evidence suggests
that shorter and slimmer individuals live
longer that taller ones, if they maintain
healthful diet, nutrition, and lifestyle.
Although body height is denitely not
a major factor for exceptional longevity
(height is probably only 5–10% of the
longevity picture, and genetic inheritance
along with lifestyle are the most impor-
tant factors which constitute the rest
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
456 Piotr Chmielewski
of the longevity picture), more recent
studies have challenged the traditional
belief that taller people have a longevi-
ty advantage over shorter people. There
are several plausible biological mecha-
nisms that are responsible for enhanced
longevity in smaller individuals, such as
reduced DNA damage, longer telomeres
and slower rate of telomere attrition,
greater functional capacity of some or-
gans, lower levels of insulin, IGF-1, GH,
mTOR, SHBG, CRP, and so forth. Al-
though earlier studies demonstrated that
taller individuals have lower mortality,
higher SES, better health, and longer life
expectancy, evidence from novel data in-
dicates now that smaller body size is an
advantage under prosperous and similar
environmental conditions, lifestyles, and
medical care.
Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank the ano-
nymous reviewers for very helpful and
insightful suggestions for improving the
paper.
Conict of interest
The author declares that there is no con-
ict of interest.
Corresponding author
Piotr Chmielewski, Department of Anat-
omy, Faculty of Medicine, Wrocław Med-
ical University, ul. T. Chałubińskiego 6a,
50-368 Wrocław, Poland.
e-mail address:
piotr.chmielewski@umed.wroc.pl
References
Allebeck P, Bergh C. 1992. Height, body mass
index and mortality: do social factors
explain the association? Public Health
106:375–82.
Austad SN. 2006. Why women live longer
than men: sex differences in longevity.
Gender Medicine 3:79–92.
Austad SN. 2010. Animal size, metabolic rate,
and survival, among and within species.
In: NS Wolf, editor. The comparative biol-
ogy of aging. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.
Baradaran A, Nasri H, Raeian-Kopaei M.
2014. Oxidative stress and hypertension:
possibility of hypertension therapy with
antioxidants. J Res Med Sci 19:358–67.
Bartke A. 2012. Healthy aging: is smaller bet-
ter? Gerontology 58:337–43.
Bartke A, Sun LY, Longo V. 2013. Somatotro-
pic signaling: trade-offs between growth,
reproductive development, and longevity.
Physiol Rev 93:571–98.
Batty GD, Shipley MJ, Gunnell D, Hux-
ley R, Kivimaki M, Woodward M, Lee
CM,Smith GD. 2009. Height, wealth, and
health: an overview with new data from
three longitudinal studies. Econ Hum Biol
7:137–52.
Blagosklonny MV. 2013. Big mice die young
but large animals live longer. Aging
5:227–33.
Bowring AL, Peeters A, Freak-Poli R, Lim MS,
Gouillou M, Hellard M. 2012. Measuring
the accuracy of self-reported height and
weight in a community-based sample of
young people. BMC Medical Research
Methodology 12:175.
Brener ND, McManus T, Galuska D, Clowry
R, Wechsler H. 2003. Reliability and va-
lidity of self-reported height and weight
among high school students. J Adolesc
Health 32:281–87.
Cairns BJ, Green J. 2013. Good news for Al-
ice”: height and sex differences in cancer
risk. J Natl Cancer Inst 105:841–3.
Caruso C, Accardi G, Virruso C, Candore
G. 2013. Sex, gender and immunosenes-
cence: a key to understand the different
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 457
lifespan between men and women? Im-
munity & Ageing 10:20.
Cavelaars A, Kunst AE, Geurts JJM, Crialesi R,
Grotvedt L, Helmert U, Lahelma E, Lund-
berg O, Mielck A, Rasmussen NK, Regi-
dor E, Spuhler T, Mackenbach JP 2000.
Persistent variations in average height
between countries and between socioeco-
nomic groups: an overview of 10 Europe-
an countries.Ann Hum Biol27:407–21.
Chmielewski P, Borysławski K. 2015. Char-
acterization and determinants of sea-
sonality of deaths in Poland: a biodemo-
graphic approach. In: D Nowakowski, K
Borysławski, M Synowiec-Piłat, B Kwiat-
kowska, editors. Health problems of old-
er people and associated ca ring aspects.
Monographs of Physical Anthropology
Vol. 3. Published online: http://www.org.
up.wroc.pl/antropologia/mpa/
Chmielewski P, Borysławski K, Chmielowiec
K, Chmielowiec J. 2015a. Height loss with
advancing age in a hospitalized population
of Polish men and women: magnitude,
pattern and associations with mortality.
Anthropol Rev 78(2):157–68.
Chmielewski P, Borysławski K, Chmielowiec
K, Chmielowiec J. 2015b. Longitudinal
and cross-sectional changes with age in
selected anthropometric and physiological
traits in hospitalized adults: and insight
from the Polish Longitudinal Study of Ag-
ing (PLSA). Anthropol Rev 78(3):317–36.
Chmielewski P, Borysławski K, Strzelec
B. 2016a. Contemporary views on hu-
man aging and longevity. Anthropol Rev
79(2):115–42.
Chmielewski P, Borysławski K, Chmielowiec
J, Chmielowiec K. 2016b. Ubytki wysoko-
ści ciała a ryzyko zgonu u osób starszych.
Gerontologia Współczesna 4(2):73–80.
Chmielewski PP, Borysławski K, Chmielowiec
J, Chmielowiec K, Strzelec B. 2016c. The
association between total leukocyte count
and longevity: Evidence from longitudi-
nal and cross-sectional data. Ann Anat
204:1–10.
Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, Cush-
man WC, Green LA, Izzo JL Jr, Jones
DW, Materson BJ, Oparil S, Wright JT
Jr, Roccella EJ; Joint National Commit-
tee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation,
and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Insti-
tute;National High Blood Pressure Edu-
cation Program Coordinating Committee.
2003. Seventh report of the Joint Nation-
al Committee on prevention, detection,
evaluation, and treatment of high blood
pressure.Hypertension 42:1206–52.
Danubio ME, Miranda G, Vinciguerra MG,
Vecchi E, Rufo F. 2008. Comparison of
self-reported and measured height and
weight: Implications for obesity research
among young adults. Econ Hum Biol
6:181–90.
Davey Smith G, Hart C, Upton M, Hole
D,Gillis C,Watt G, Hawthorne V. 2000.
Height and risk of death among men and
women: aetiological implications of as-
sociations with cardiorespiratory disease
and cancer mortality. J Epidemiol Com-
munity Health. 54:97–103.
Dieckemann KP, Hartmann JT, Classen J, Lüd-
de R, Diederichs M, Pichlmeier U. 2008.
Tallness is associated with risk of testic-
ular cancer: evidence for the nutrition hy-
pothesis. Br J Cancer 99:1517–21.
Elo IT, Preston SH. 1992. Effects of early-life
conditions on adult mortality: a review.
Population Index 58:186–212.
Engeland A, Bjørge T, Selmer RM, Tverdal
A. 2003. Height and body mass index in
relation to total mortality. Epidemiolo-
gy14:293–9.
Eskes T, Haanen C. 2007. Why do women live
longer than men? Eur J Obstet Gynecol
Reprod Biol 133:126–33.
Flegal KM, Graubard BI, Williamson DF, Gail
MH. 2005. Excess deaths associated with
underweight, overweight, and obesity. JA-
MA 293:1861–7.
Franco OH, Peeters A, Bonneux L, de Laet C.
2005. Blood pressure in adulthood and life
expectancy with cardiovascular disease in
men and women. Hypertension 46:280–6.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
458 Piotr Chmielewski
Gavrilova N, Gavrilov LA. 2008. Can excep-
tional longevity be predicted? Contingen-
cies 2008:82–8.
Giovannelli L, Saieva C, Masala G, Testa G,
Salvini S, Pitozzi V, Riboli E, Dolara P,
Palli D. 2002. Nutritional and lifestyle
determinants of DNA oxidative damage:
a study in a Mediterranean population.
Carcinogenesis 23:1483–9.
He Q, Morris BJ, Grove JS, Petrovitch H,
Ross W, Masaki KH, Rodriguez B, Chen
R, Donlon TA, Willcox DC, Willcox BJ.
2014. Shorter men live longer: association
of height with longevity and FOXO3 gen-
otype in American men of Japanese ances-
try. PLoS One 9:e94385.
Herbert PR, Rich-Edwards JW, Manson JE.
1993. Height and incidence of cardiovas-
cular disease in male physicians. Circula-
tion 88:1437–43.
Heward CB. 2010. An approach to extending
human lifespan today. In: GM Fahy, editor.
The future of aging. Pathways to human
life extension. New York: Springer.
Holl RW, Schröder H, Heinze E. 1991. Are
short boys disadvantaged as adults? A
re-evaluation of 77 men with constitu-
tional growth delay and (or) familial short
stature. Deutsche Medizinische Wochen-
schrift 116:928–34.
Jiang Y, Marshall R, Walpole S, Prieto-Merino
D,Liu DX,Perry JK. 2015. An internation-
al ecological study of adult height in rela-
tion to cancer incidence for 24 anatomical
sites. Cancer Causes Control 26:493–9.
Jousilahti P, Tuomilehto J, Vartiainen E, Eriks-
son J, Puska P. 2000. Relation of adult
height to cause specic and total mortal-
ity: a prospective follow-up study of 31,
199 middle-aged men and women in Fin-
land. Am J Epidemiol 151:1112–20.
Kabat GC, Heo M, Kamensky V, Miller AB,
Rohan TE. 2013a. Adult height in relation
to risk of cancer in a cohort of Canadian
women. Int J Cancer 132:1125–32.
Kabat GC, Anderson ML, Heo M, Hosgood
HD 3rd, Kamensky V, Bea JW, Hou L,
Lane DS, Wactawski-Wende J, Manson JE,
Rohan TE. 2013b. Adult stature and risk
of cancer at different anatomic sites in a
cohort of postmenopausal women. Cancer
Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 22:1353–63.
Kannam JP, Levy D, Larson M, Wilson P.
1994. Short stature and risk for mortali-
ty and cardiovascular disease events. The
Framingham Heart Study. Circulation
90:2241–7.
Kemkes-Grottenthaler A. 2005. The short die
young: the interrelationship between stat-
ure and longevity – evidence from skeletal
remains. Am J Phys Anthropol 128:340–7.
Kirkwood TBL. 2010. Why women live lon-
ger. Stress alone does not explain the lon-
gevity gap. Sci Am 303:34–5.
Kościński K, Krenz-Niedbała M, Puch EA, Ko-
złowska-Rajewicz A. 2009. Wielkość ciała
a sezon urodzenia. Poznańskie ośmiolatki
2007. Poznań: Monograe Instytutu An-
tropologii Wydawnictwo UAM. (in Polish)
Kowald A. 2002. Lifespan does not measure
ageing. Biogerontology 3:187–90.
Krul AJ, Daanen HA, Choi H. 2010. Self-re-
ported and measured weight, height and
body mass index (BMI) in Italy, the Neth-
erlands and North America. Eur J Public
Health 21:414–9.
Läärä E, Rantakallio P. 1996. Body size and
mortality in women: a 29 year follow up
of 12,000 pregnant women in northern
Finland. J EpidemiolCommunity Health
50:408–14.
Lawlor DA, Ebrahim S, Davey-Smith G. 2002.
The association between components of
adult height and Type II diabetes and insu-
lin resistance: British Women’s Heart and
Health Study. Diabetologia 45:1097–106.
Lawlor DA, Taylor M, Davey-Smith G, Gun-
nell D, Ebrahim S. 2004. Associations of
components of adult height with coronary
heart disease in postmenopausal wom-
en: the British women’s heart and health
study. Heart 90:745–9.
Leoncini E, Ricciardi W, Cadoni G, Arzani
D,Petrelli L,Paludetti G,Brennan P,Luce
D, Stucker I, Matsuo K, Talamini R, La
Vecchia C,Olshan AF,Winn DM, Herrero
R, Franceschi S, Castellsague X, Muscat
J,Morgenstern H,Zhang ZF, Levi F, Dal
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
Short stature is related to greater longevity 459
Maso L, Kelsey K, McClean M, Vaughan
TL,Lazarus P,Purdue MP,Hayes RB,Chen
C, Schwartz SM, Shangina O, Koifman
S,Ahrens W,Matos E,Lagiou P,Lissows-
ka J, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Fernandez
L,Menezes A,Agudo A, Daudt AW, Ri-
chiardi L,Kjaerheim K, Mates D,Betka
J,Yu GP,Schantz S,Simonato L, Brenner
H,Conway DI, Macfarlane TV, Thomson
P, Fabianova E,Znaor A,Rudnai P,Healy
C,Boffetta P,Chuang SC,Lee YC,Hashibe
M,Boccia S. 2014. Adult height and head
and neck cancer: a pooled analysis within
the INHANCE Consortium. Euro J Epide-
miol 29:35–48.
Liao Y, McGee DL, Cao G, Cooper RS. 1996.
Short stature and risk of mortality and
cardiovascular disease: negative ndings
from the NHANES I epidemiologic fol-
low-up study. J Am Coll Cardiol 27:678–
82.
Maier AB, Van Heemst D, Westendorp GJ.
2008. Relation between body height and
replicative capacity of human broblasts
in nonagenarians. J Gerontol A Biol Sci
Med Sci 63:43–5.
Miller RA, Harper JM, Galecki A, Burke DT.
2002. Big mice die young: early life body
weight predicts longevity in genetically
heterogeneous mice. Aging Cell 1:22–9.
Miller RA, Austad SN. 2006. Growth and
aging: why do big dogs die young? In: EJ
Masoro, SN Austad, editors. Handbook of
the biology of aging. 6th edition. San Di-
ego: Academic Press.
Møller AP, Fincher CL, Thornhill R. 2009.
Why men have shorter lives than women:
effects of resource availability, infectious
disease, and senescence. Am J Hum Biol
21:357–64.
Murray JE. 1997. Standards of the present for
people of the past. Height, weight, and
mortality among men of Amherst College,
1834–1949. The Journal of Economic His-
tory 57:585–606.
Nyström Peck M,  Vågerö D. 1987. Adult
body height and childhood socioeconomic
group in the Swedish population. J Epide-
miolCommunity Health 41:333–7.
Özaltin E. 2012. Commentary: The long and
short of why taller people are healthier
and live longer. Int J Epidemiol 41:1434–5.
Pawłowski B. 2009. Wysokość i długościowe
proporcje ciała a atrakcyjność człowieka.
In: B Pawłowski, editor. Biologia atrakcyj-
ności człowieka. Warsaw: WUW. 84.
Pawłowski B. 2012. Body height. In: TF Cash,
editor. Encyclopedia of Body Image and
Human Appearance. San Diego: Academic
Press. 82–8.
Peck AM, Vågerö DH. 1989. Adult body
height, self perceived health and mortal-
ity in the Swedish population. J Epidemi-
olCommunity Health 43:380–4.
Perkins JM, Subramanian SV, Davey Smith
G, Özaltin E. 2016. Adult height, nutri-
tion, and population health. Nutr Rev
74:149–65.
Power C, Matthews S. 1997. Origins of health
inequalities in a national population sam-
ple. Lancet 350:1584–9.
Rattan SIS. 2006. Theories of biological ag-
ing: Genes, proteins, and free radicals.
Free Radic Res 40:1230–8.
Rollo CD. 2002. Growth negatively impacts
the life span of mammals. Evol Dev 4:55–
61.
Salaris L, Poulain M, Samaras TT. 2012.
Height and survival at older ages among
men born in an inland village in Sardinia
(Italy), 1866–2006. Biodemography Soc
Biol 58:1–13.
Samaras TT. 2014. Evidence from eight differ-
ent types of studies showing that smaller
body size is related to greater longevity.
Journal of Scientic Research & Reports
3:2150–60.
Sear R. 2006. Height and reproductive suc-
cess. How a Gambian population com-
pares with the West. Hum Nat 17:405–18.
Sherry B, Jefferds ME, Grummer-Strawn L.
M. 2007. Accuracy of adolescent self-re-
port of height and weight in assessing
overweight status. A literature review.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 161:1154–61.
Silventoinen K, Lahelma E, Rahkonen O. 1999.
Social background, adult body height and
health. Int J Epidemiol 28:911–8.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
460 Piotr Chmielewski
Song YM, Sung J. 2008. Adult height and the
risk of mortality in South Korean women.
Am J Epidemiol 168:497–505.
Stindl R. 2004. Tying it all together: tel-
omeres, sexual size dimorphism and the
gender gap in life expectancy. Med Hy-
potheses 62:151–4.
Stini WA. 1969. Nutritional stress and
growth: sex difference in adaptive re-
sponse. Am J Phys Anthropol 31:417–26.
Stini WA. 1978. Early nutrition, growth, dis-
ease, and human longevity. Nutrition and
Cancer 1:31–9.
Stinson S. 1985. Sex, differences in environ-
mental sensitivity during growth and de-
velopment. Yearb Phys Anthropol 28:123–
47.
Waaler HT. 1984. Height, weight and mortali-
ty: The Norwegian experience. Acta Medi-
ca Scandinavica Supplement 679:1–56.
Wilhelmsen L, Svärdsudd K, Eriksson
H, Rosengren A, Hansson PO, Welin
C,Odén A,Welin L. 2011. Factors associ-
ated with reaching 90 years of age: a study
of men born in 1913 in Gothenburg, Swe-
den. J Intern Med 269:441–51.
Wirén S, Häggström C, Ulmer H, Manjer
J, Bjørge T,Nagel G, Johansen D, Hall-
mans G,Engeland A, Concin H,Jonsson
H,Selmer R,Tretli S,Stocks T, Stattin P.
2014. Pooled cohort study on height and
risk of cancer and cancer death. Cancer
Causes Control 25:151–9.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 12/30/19 2:55 PM
... However, not all studies confirm this positive correlation between height and lifespan. Other authors who have worked with recent data find that short individuals have some health and longevity advantages (Samaras and Elrick, 2002;Samaras, 2012;Chmielewski, 2016). ...
... Finally, in our sample, during the very late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the average age at death of the short men was higher than that of the tall individuals (although this is not confirmed by the multivariate results, possibly due to the small sample size). Therefore, our results could be compatible with contemporary studies finding a slightly longer life expectancy among short individuals (Samaras and Elrick, 2002;Samaras, 2012;He et al., 2013;Chmielewski, 2016). These studies indicate the possible existence of small differences in causes of mortality between tall men (higher mortality from certain cancers) and short men (higher mortality from circulatory diseases). ...
Article
This article analyses the relationship between male height and age at death and its evolution over time among conscripts born in fourteen villages in north-east rural Spain. A total of 1,488 conscripts born between 1835 and 1939 (and who died between 1868 and 2019) have been included in the analysis (based on the study of 3 sub-periods: 1835-1869, 1870-1899, and 1900-1939). The height data have been obtained from military service conscription records and the demographic and socioeconomic information of the deceased was obtained from parish archives and censuses. The data have been linked according to nominative criteria using family reconstitution methods. For the statistical analysis, we have used ordinary least squares (OLS) linear regressions with heteroskedasticity-robust estimation. The results suggest a positive relationship between height and lifespan in the long-term. For the birth cohorts of 1835-1869, conscripts with a height of 170 cm or more lived on average 7.6 years longer than conscripts measuring less than 160 cm. This difference in life expectancy tended to disappear for the birth cohorts of 1900-1939, benefiting especially the short conscripts who had greater possibilities to increase their average lifespan. The reasons that might explain these changes could reside in the improvements experienced by this group in terms of their living conditions, health and nutrition during the twentieth century.
... Since 1978, human longevity studies have found a variety of populations show shorter or smaller males and females live longer or have lower mortality rates [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]. Although studies of shorter women living longer are less common, several studies have found that shorter women have lower mortality or longevity rates [20,22,23]. ...
... The data selected for this study represent a larger variety of countries with similar economic backgrounds. The height and life expectancy data in this study were evaluated to determine whether previous longevity studies [11,[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29] are supported by a broad range of male vs. female longevity differences. The entropy theory predicts that larger, higher energy bodies within the same species exhibit more rapid increases in disorder (aging) over huma n lifetimes [17]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many papers have provided reasons for why women live longer than men. These include XX vs. XY chromosomes, sex hormones, and better care of their health. These factors certainly can affect male and female health but none has been proven to explain the actual difference that exists in life expectancy between the sexes. Another controversial factor commonly ignored is the size difference between men and women, but past research has shown that differences in male and female height and associated life expectancy are related by similar but inverse percentages (such as 8% taller and 9% shorter life expectancy). This paper provides additional evidence that supports early findings that shorter height is a major factor in explaining why women live longer. To test the inverse relation between height and life expectancy, a list of developed countries was used to compare height and life expectancy differences between men and women. The results showed men were 7.8% taller and had an 8.5% lower life expectancy. These results are similar to previous study findings in 1992, 2003, and 2009. They are also consistent with scores of studies showing shorter or smaller body size is related to greater longevity independent of sex.
... 9 Il y a une querelle de vocabulaire sur l'usage du mot matriarcat, souvent utilisé par les magazines grand public pour qualifier les cultures dans lesquelles les femmes ont un statut enviable et/ou égalitaire. Pour Françoise Héritier et un certain nombre d'auteurs, il ne représente aucune réalité anthropologique, car il n'y a nulle part de dominance féminine qui soit comparable à la dominance masculine du ou des patriarcats [22,29]. Pour d'autres auteures (principalement des femmes) les matriarcats existent mais ne sont pas symétriques des patriarcats, parce que les femmes ne sont pas aussi violentes et agressives que les hommes [26]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The origin of sexual dimorphism of stature (SSD) in the human species is a subject of debate, likely to have a sociocultural impact. Stature is optimally expressed in good environmental conditions, notably good food, with a strong hereditary determinism. The common academic interpretation, already proposed by Darwin, is that SSD results from sexual selection of stronger males, in most species of mammals, including humans. An alternative hypothesis proposes that it might result from alimentary gender coercion in humans. There is practically no SSD until female growth stops, by ossification of cartilage in the growth plates of long bones, largely under the action of estrogens. The mechanism is the same in males, with a delay due to a lesser and/or later concentration of estrogens. This explanation for SSD has the advantage of being valid for most mammalian species, including those like Pan paniscus where females are dominant. The fitness resulting from high estrogen levels would explain the relatively small stature of women, in spite of obstetric difficulties inversely correlated with height. If patriarchy is involved, it would be by the injunction of fertility rather than by alimentary coercion
... Multiple mouse and other models demonstrate that suppression of different nodes in the GH/IGF1 signaling cascade increase longevity (Kim, S. S., Lee, 2019;Junnila et al., 2013;Rincon et al., 2005;Bartke, 2019). Human studies support these findings by revealing greater longevity in people with smaller body sizes (Samaras, 2013(Samaras, , 2014Chmielewski, 2016). Downstream of GH/IGF1, both mTOR (Papadopoli et al., 2019;Blagosklonny, 2013aBlagosklonny, , 2013bWilkinson et al., 2012) and FOXO (Daitoku, Fukamizu, 2007;Jiang et al., 2019) cascades are considered as central mechanisms of longevity regulation. ...
Article
Targeted methods that dominated toxicological research until recently did not allow for screening of all molecular changes involved in toxic response. Therefore, it is difficult to infer if all major mechanisms of toxicity have already been discovered, or if some of them are still overlooked. We used data on 591,084 unique chemical-gene interactions to identify genes and molecular pathways most sensitive to chemical exposures. The list of identified pathways did not change significantly when analyses were done on different subsets of data with non-overlapping lists of chemical compounds indicative that our dataset is saturated enough to provide unbiased results. One of the most important findings of this study is that almost every known molecular mechanism may be affected by chemical exposures. Predictably, xenobiotic metabolism pathways, and mechanisms of cellular response to stress and damage were among the most sensitive. Additionally, we identified highly sensitive molecular pathways, which are not widely recognized as major targets of toxicants, including lipid metabolism pathways, longevity regulation cascade, and cytokine-mediated signaling. These mechanisms are relevant to significant public health problems, such as aging, cancer, metabolic and autoimmune disease. Thus, public health field will benefit from future focus of toxicological research on identified sensitive mechanisms.
... Multiple mouse and other models demonstrate that suppression of different nodes in the GH-IGF1 signaling cascade increase longevity (Bartke 2019;Junnila et al. 2013;Kim, S. S. and Lee 2019;Rincon et al. 2005). Human studies support these findings by revealing greater longevity in people with smaller body size (Chmielewski 2016;Samaras 2014;Samaras 2013). Downstream of GH-IGF1, both mTOR (Blagosklonny 2013a;Blagosklonny 2013b;Papadopoli et al. 2019;Wilkinson et al. 2012) and FOXO (Daitoku and Fukamizu 2007;Jiang et al. 2019) cascades are considered as central mechanisms of longevity regulation. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Targeted methods that dominated toxicological research until recently did not allow for screening of all molecular changes involved in toxic response. Therefore, it is difficult to infer if all major mechanisms of toxicity have already been discovered, or if some of them are still overlooked. Objectives: To identify molecular mechanisms sensitive to chemical exposures in an unbiased manner. Methods: We used data on 641,516 unique chemical-gene interactions from the Comparative Toxicogenomic Database. Only data from high-throughput gene expression experiments with human, rat or mouse cells/tissues were extracted. The total number of chemical-gene interactions was calculated for every gene, and used as a measure of gene sensitivity to chemical exposures. These values were further used in enrichment analyses to identify molecular mechanisms sensitive to chemical exposures. Results: Remarkably, use of different input subsets with non-overlapping lists of chemical compounds identified largely the same genes and molecular pathways as most sensitive to chemical exposures, indicative of an unbiased nature of our analysis. One of the most important findings of this study is that almost every known molecular mechanism may be affected by chemical exposures. Predictably, xenobiotic metabolism pathways and mechanisms of cellular response to stress and damage were among the most sensitive. Additionally, our analysis identified a range of highly sensitive molecular pathways, which are not widely recognized by modern toxicology as major targets of toxicants, including lipid metabolism pathways, longevity regulation cascade and cytokine mediated signaling. Discussion: Molecular mechanisms identified as the most sensitive to chemical exposures are relevant for significant public health problems, such as aging, cancer, metabolic and autoimmune disease. Thus, public health system will likely benefit from future research focus on these sensitive molecular mechanisms. Additionally, approach used in this study may guide identification of priority adverse outcome pathways (AOP) for in-vitro and in-silico toxicity testing methods.
... Patients with Laron syndrome have a longer life expectancy compared to the control, while patients with acromegaly are at a higher risk of premature death from the age-related conditions such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Moreover, shorter and slimmer people who follow a healthy diet tend to outlive their taller and stouter counterparts (Chmielewski 2016), even though the final results remain mixed because of several confounders such as BMI, socioeconomic status (SES) and educational attainment. Finally, long-term effects of growth hormone therapies in men include the increased risk of death from cancer and type 2 diabetes. ...
Article
Full-text available
Ageing is one of the most complex and difficult problems for humans to face and for science to solve. Although human senescence was viewed as a passive and uncontrollable process of deterioration over time with little or no genetic regulation, the concept that ageing is caused by both genetic and environmental factors is now generally accepted, even though it remains difficult to distinguish between ageing sensu stricto and the effects of age-related diseases. Empirical data show that mechanisms of ageing are highly conserved during evolution. Moreover, it has been established that there are specific molecular ‘instructions’ for ageing, which suggests that a better understanding of the molecular biology of ageing will open new possibilities regarding future interventions. The complexity of ageing diminishes the possibility that any general theory will completely explain this metaphenomenon. Likewise, it is highly unlikely that any medication can stop or reverse human senescence. Nevertheless, ageing as a dynamic and malleable metaphenomenon can be modulated by a variety of influences. The concept of the shrinkage of the homeo-dynamic space with age, i.e. homeostenosis, is especially interesting and intriguing as it shows that novel therapeutic approaches and rational strategies can help delay the onset of the ageing-associated pathologies by enhancing the homeodynamic capabilities of the body. The aim of this article is to present current data from evolutionary and molecular gerontology and discuss them within the ambit of this review which is devoted to the dynamic, emergent and plastic nature of human ageing and implications for future interventions.
... In the analyzed Neolithic, early medieval, medieval, and early modern samples mean stature amounted to 162.8, 168.9, 165.8, and 165.9 cm for males and 150.5, 155.7, 153.8, and 154.0 cm for females, respectively. Compared to data for contemporary Poland (171.6 cm and 159.6 cm, respectively;Chmielewski, 2016), females exhibited greater deficits in that respect (vs. males) in the two oldest skeletal series (Neolithic and early medieval), but not in the other historical samples. ...
Article
The current increase in the incidence of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures among men and the decrease in age in which these first occur raise the question about historical changes in the patterns of bone loss with age, including sex differences, and their biological and cultural determinants in the past. The present study analyzed bone mineral density (BMD) and bone fractures in 267 male skeletons representing six geographically homogeneous populations from the region of Kujawy in north-central Poland, both prehistoric (Middle Neolithic) and historical (early Middle Ages to early modern times). Sex differences in BMD were investigated using data from a previous study of females from these populations (Spinek et al., 2016). In general, the regular patterns of age-related bone loss found in men from the studied archaeological populations were similar to those observed today. In all age groups, Neolithic men showed a significantly higher BMD as compared to the historical samples; on the other hand, the latter revealed similar values to contemporary populations in the middle and old age groups. Thus, in the analyzed period, a major transition in bone maintenance patterns occurred between the Neolithic and the Early Middle Ages. The archaeological populations exhibited a faster rate of bone loss with age: while their initial BMD levels were higher than those in contemporary populations, BMD for the oldest age groups was similar to or even lower than today. The most pronounced sex differences in BMD were found for young adults, which indicates a significantly greater influence of factors limiting peak bone mass and contributing to bone loss in young women, probably associated with reproductive history (age at menarche and pregnancies). The men, and especially young individuals, exhibited a higher prevalence of osteoporotic fractures as compared to the women. The main factor determining such sex- and age-specific patterns of osteoporotic fractures in the analyzed skeletal samples was the generally greater susceptibility to injuries of the males. https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1YWVe15SlTh3SN
... Earlier, I also wrote a book called The Truth about Your Height [3]. Over the years, many other researchers have found similar longevity or mortality results, such as studies in Hawaii, Ohio, Spain, Sardinia, Poland, Japan and Sweden [4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. For example, a Swedish study by Wilhelmsen tracked 67-year old men into their nineties and found that men who were shorter at 67 years of age were more likely to reach 90 years of age [10]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Full Text PDF Full Text HTML Linked References Easy Links Commentary There's no doubt that taller, bigger people have many advantages in our society. They are more imposing, stronger, great athletes, and make more money. However, in our adoration of taller height, we have turned a blind eye on the many real bene=its of smaller human size. As a result most short and average height people are unaware of the many inherent bene=its related to their height. In proceeding with my exploration of the little know facts, I hope tall people can avoid taking my =indings personally. After all, history has shown good and bad humans come in all sizes. In pointing out the advantages of shorter, smaller size, I am not denigrating tall or big individuals-my quarrel is with a future world population of billions of taller, bigger people who require enormous amounts of food, water, energy and natural resources. For example, an across the board reduction of 10% in height, while maintaining the same body proportions, would save enormous amounts of resources as discussed later. Thus, the question of whether tall or short is a desirable con=iguration for future humans depends on the relationship between height and human survival. You are probably thinking I'm a short person trying to support my physical build. Although I have shrunk in height due to my age, when I was young in the 1950s, I was above average in height at 5'10". Most US male adults were about 5'8" or 5'9". At that time, I also believed shorter height was an undesirable biological factor in life. However, my research into aging, longevity, physical performance and survival of humanity changed my mind. Since we can't cover over 40 years of research in this article, the reader is referred to www.humanbodysize.com and www. researchgate.net for a list of publications or copies related to the rami=ications of increasing body height and weight. The following material covers background information, longevity =indings, athletic performance, bravery, intelligence, outstanding achievements, resource requirements and nutritional considerations.
... In addition to the preceding findings, over 25 independent researchers have found that shorter people have lower all-cause mortality or live longer. For example, researchers studied deceased Ohio residents [16], elderly Japanese men in Hawaii [17], retired West Point graduates [18], a cross-section of the US population [19], deceased Polish men and women [20], deceased males in a Sardinian village [21] and retired basketball players [22]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The advantages of smaller body size represent a major gap in our knowledge among a variety of disciplines, including medicine, public health, education, athletics, ecology and military science. The aim of this paper is to summarize several relatively unknown advantages related to shorter, smaller bodies. For example, shorter, smaller individuals are stronger pound for pound, have faster reaction times, and are more agile. While we frequently admire taller people for their leadership qualities, many short people have also been great leaders and successful business people throughout history. In addition, a wealth of research exists indicating that within similar environments, shorter, smaller people are healthier and live longer. Shorter people also help preserve our food, drinking water, resources and environment. The significance of this paper is that it provides factual information showing that it is unfair and unscientific to promote negative images of shorter and average height individuals as is commonly done in our world.
... Most mortality studies support a lower mortality for taller people, but these studies cover a [11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19].Bartke [20], an eminent longevity researcher, reviewed the evidence supporting the relation between smaller body size and longevity and concluded that smaller size humans are more likely to live healthier and longer lives due to lower levels of growth stimulating hormone. For more research on this area, see: www.humanbodysize.com ...
Article
Full-text available
Aging is currently stimulating intense interest of both researchers and the general public. In developed countries, the average life expectancy has increased by roughly 30 years within the last century, and human senescence has been delayed by around a decade. Although aging is arguably the most familiar aspect of human biology, its proximate and ultimate causes have not been elucidated fully and understood yet. Nowadays there are two main approaches to the ultimate causes of aging. These are deterministic and stochastic models. The proximate theories constitute a distinct group of explanations. They focus on mechanistic causes of aging. In this view, there is no reason to believe that there is only one biological mechanism responsible for aging. The aging process is highly complex and results from an accumulation of random molecular damage. Currently, the disposable soma theory (DST), proposed by Thomas Kirkwood, is the most influential and coherent line of reasoning in biogerontology. This model does not postulate any particular mechanism underpinning somatic defense. Therefore, it is compatible with various models, including mechanistic and evolutionary explanations. Recently, however, an interesting theory of hyper-function of mTOR as a more direct cause of aging has been formulated by Mikhail Blagosklonny, offering an entirely different approach to numerous problems and paradoxes in current biogerontology. In this view, aging is quasi-programmed, which means that it is an aimless continuation of developmental growth. This mTOR-centric model allows the prediction of completely new relationships. The aim of this article is to present and compare the views of both parties in the dispute, based on the results of some recent experimental studies, and the contemporary knowledge of selected major aspects of human aging and longevity
Article
Full-text available
Longitudinal studies of aging concerning individuals with comparable lifestyle, diet, health profile, socioeconomic status, and income remain extraordinarily rare. The purposes of our ongoing project are as follows: (i) to collect extensive data on biological and medical aspects of aging in the Polish population, (ii) to determine factors affecting the rate and course of aging, (iii) to understand how aging unfolds as a dynamic and malleable process in ontogeny, and (iv) to find novel predictors of longevity. Our investigation followed 142 physically healthy asylum inmates, including 68 males and 74 females, for at least 25 years from the age of 45 years onward. Cross-sectional assessment involved 225 inmates, including 113 males and 112 females. All the patients lived for a very long time under similar and good environmental conditions at the hospital in Cibórz, Lubuskie Province. They maintained virtually the same daily schedule and lifestyle. The rate and direction of changes with age in selected anthropometric and physiological traits were determined using ANOVA, t-test, and regression analysis. There were sex differences in the rate and pattern of age-related changes in certain characteristics such as relative weight, red blood cell count, monocyte count, thymol turbidity value, systolic blood pressure, and body temperature. Body weight, the body mass index (BMI), and total bilirubin level increased with advancing age, while body height decreased with age in both sexes. In conclusion, the aging process was associated with many regressive alterations in biological traits in both sexes but the rate and pattern of these changes depended on biological factors such as age and sex. There were only few characteristics which did not change significantly during the period under study. On the basis of comparison between the pattern of longitudinal changes with aging and the pattern of cross-sectional changes with age in the analyzed traits, we were able to predict which pattern of changes is associated with longer lifespan.
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the study was to evaluate the relationship between age-dependent changes in total leukocyte count (TLC) and certain selected differential counts expressed as frequencies (granulocytes, band cells, eosinophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes) and longevity in physically healthy men and women aged 45+. Longitudinal data on cell counts from 142 subjects (68 men and 74 women; all aged 45-70 and examined for 25 years) were compared with cross-sectional data from 225 subjects (113 men and 112 women; this group was divided into four categories of average lifespan; i.e.: 53, 63, 68, and 76+ years of age). ANOVA, t test, and regression analysis were employed. Secular changes in leukocyte count were controlled. Men had continuously higher TLC compared with women. Moreover, sex differences in patterns of changes with age were found. The longitudinal assessment revealed a U-shaped pattern of changes in TLC in men (y=0.0026×(2)-0.2866x+14.4374; R(2)=0.852) and women (y=0.0048×(2)-0.5386x+20.922; R(2)=0.938), whereas the cross-sectional comparison showed an inverted U-shaped pattern in men (y=-0.0021×(2)+0.2421x; R(2)=0.417) and women (y=-0.0017×(2)+0.2061x; R(2)=0.888). In general, the comparison of longitudinal and cross-sectional data on changes with age in TLC indicates that longevity favors individuals with lower yet normal TLC and this correlation is more pronounced in men. In conclusion, our findings are in line with previous longitudinal studies of aging and suggest that lower TLC within the normal range (4.0-10.0×10(3)/μL) can be a useful predictor of longevity in physically healthy individuals.
Article
Full-text available
The connection between the rate of height loss in older people and their general health status has been well documented in the medical literature. Our study was aimed at furthering the characterization of this interrelationship in the context of health indices and mortality in a hospitalized population of Polish adults. Data were collated from a literature review and from a longitudinal study of aging carried out in the Polish population which followed 142 physically healthy inmates, including 68 men and 74 women, for at least 25 years from the age of 45 onwards. Moreover, cross-sectional data were available from 225 inmates, including 113 men and 112 women. These subjects were confined at the same hospital. ANOVA, t-test, and regression analysis were employed. The results indicate that the onset of height loss emerges in the fourth and five decade of life and there is a gradual acceleration of reduction of height at later stages of ontogeny in both sexes. Postmenopausal women experience a more rapid loss of height compared with men. The individuals who had higher rate of loss of height (≥3 cm/decade) tend to be at greater risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. In conclusion, our findings suggest that a systematic assessment of the rate of loss of height can be useful for clinicians caring for elderly people because of its prognostic value in terms of morbidity and mortality.
Article
Full-text available
Aim: To report findings from various sources indicating that smaller sized humans live longer. Study Design: Collected mortality and longevity data from a variety of diverse studies involving animals and humans. Also collected longevity data from many nations and ethnic groups. Evaluated a broad range of biological parameters that may explain why smaller people live longer. Methodology: Over 145 mortality, life expectancy, and longevity studies were evaluated based on over 5000 papers, reports, and books collected over the last 35 years. Thirty studies were selected for this mini review to provide a balanced variety of findings. Results: Evidence was collected on eight different types of studies. For example, studies were found showing smaller body size is related to greater longevity within the same species. Other studies involved longevity in relation to caloric restriction, male-female height differences, and US ethnic group heights. Other data sources indicated that shorter developed populations have longer life expectancies compared to the tallest populations. Longevity studies showed that shorter people lived longer. Worldwide, centenarians were also found to be short and lean based on their military heights or when adult heights were adjusted for shrinkage. A list of 11 biological factors identified why shorter, lighter bodies survive longer. Conclusions: The evidence indicates that shorter, smaller bodies are healthier and longer-lived when healthful nutrition and lifestyles are followed. Therefore, emphasizing Mini-review Article Samaras; JSRR, Article no. JSRR.2014.16.003 2151 physical growth is unwarranted when children are healthy. Reduced caloric and animal consumption can provide a path for better health and avoidance of chronic disease.
Article
Celem pracy było określenie charakteru i tempa zmian wstecznych wysokości ciała u mężczyzn i kobiet o zróżnicowanej wysokości ciała oraz długości życia. Badania obejmowały zarówno materiał ciągły (68 mężczyzn i 74 kobiety), jak i przekrojowy (113 mężczyzn i 112 kobiet). Wykonano test t-Studenta oraz analizę regresji. Osoby niższe i mające duże tempo zmian inwolucyjnych żyły krócej. Potrzebne są dalsze badania omawianych zależności, zwłaszcza w celu ustalenia przydatności systematycznych pomiarów wysokości ciała jako ogólnego wskaźnika stanu zdrowia osób starszych.
Article
In this review, the potential causes and consequences of adult height, a measure of cumulative net nutrition, in modern populations are summarized. The mechanisms linking adult height and health are examined, with a focus on the role of potential confounders. Evidence across studies indicates that short adult height (reflecting growth retardation) in low- and middle-income countries is driven by environmental conditions, especially net nutrition during early years. Some of the associations of height with health and social outcomes potentially reflect the association between these environmental factors and such outcomes. These conditions are manifested in the substantial differences in adult height that exist between and within countries and over time. This review suggests that adult height is a useful marker of variation in cumulative net nutrition, biological deprivation, and standard of living between and within populations and should be routinely measured. Linkages between adult height and health, within and across generations, suggest that adult height may be a potential tool for monitoring health conditions and that programs focused on offspring outcomes may consider maternal height as a potentially important influence.
Article
The strongest evidence in favor of the idea linking early life growth rate and aging comes from the analysis of size and mean life span among dog breeds. The squared correlation coefficient indicates that more than half of the life-span variation among breeds is explained by the factors-virtually all genetic-that modulate interbreed differences in body weight. The differences in longevity among dog breeds of different sizes seemingly reflect not only survival per se but also real differences in aging rate in multiple degenerative conditions. Diseases appear earlier in larger breeds compared to smaller ones. Indeed, the age at which clinical veterinarians consider dogs to require "geriatric" care ranges from 6 to 9 years in giant breeds to 9 to 13 years in smaller breeds. Life span of rodents can be extended by at least two classes of nutritional manipulations, those that diminish total caloric intake and those that restrict the levels of essential amino acids, such as methionine or tryptophan.
Article
OBJECTIVES—Height is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease mortality risk and has shown variable associations with cancer incidence and mortality. The interpretation of findings from previous studies has been constrained by data limitations. Associations between height and specific causes of death were investigated in a large general population cohort of men and women from the West of Scotland. DESIGN—Prospective observational study. SETTING—Renfrew and Paisley, in the West of Scotland. SUBJECTS—7052 men and 8354 women aged 45-64 were recruited into a study in Renfrew and Paisley, in the West of Scotland, between 1972 and 1976. Detailed assessments of cardiovascular disease risk factors, morbidity and socioeconomic circumstances were made at baseline. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES—Deaths during 20 years of follow up classified into specific causes. RESULTS—Over the follow up period 3347 men and 2638 women died. Height is inversely associated with all cause, coronary heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disease mortality among men and women. Adjustment for socioeconomic position and cardiovascular risk factors had little influence on these associations. Height is strongly associated with forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and adjustment for FEV1 considerably attenuated the association between height and cardiorespiratory mortality. Smoking related cancer mortality is not associated with height. The risk of deaths from cancer unrelated to smoking tended to increase with height, particularly for haematopoietic, colorectal and prostate cancers. Stomach cancer mortality was inversely associated with height. Adjustment for socioeconomic position had little influence on these associations. CONCLUSION—Height serves partly as an indicator of socioeconomic circumstances and nutritional status in childhood and this may underlie the inverse associations between height and adulthood cardiorespiratory mortality. Much of the association between height and cardiorespiratory mortality was accounted for by lung function, which is also partly determined by exposures acting in childhood. The inverse association between height and stomach cancer mortality probably reflects Helicobacter pylori infection in childhood resulting in—or being associated with—shorter height. The positive associations between height and several cancers unrelated to smoking could reflect the influence of calorie intake during childhood on the risk of these cancers. Keywords: height; cancer; cardiorespiratory disease