Understanding the Relationship Between Height and Longevity
We live in a society where many people place a high premium on being tall. Parents whose children are not growing as they expect or desire often seek professional help to rectify any possible underlying condition. Even adults, who ordinarily have gone past the phase for height increase, look for solutions that can make them grow taller.
However, while focusing on the perks that come with being tall, many people fail to pay attention to possible issues. Research shows that being tall may not be so great for long-term health and longevity.
Benefits of Being Tall
It is not open to debate that height confers certain advantages on a person. There is convincing sociological data showing that taller people actually have better experience in most cases. The following are a few of the reasons people want to be taller.
It is without a doubt that many people want to be taller so that others may find them attractive. This is especially the case among men. There is a tendency for ladies to find shorter men less attractive. Taller women, in particular, are averse to the idea of dating someone shorter.
It is not just about attraction to the opposite sex. For some unclear reasons, people generally seem to find taller people more attractive.
Height has a way of opening doors of opportunities to a person. There is a belief that employers love giving jobs to taller persons than their shorter counterparts. Such individuals are also more often considered for leadership positions. This is in part due to their perceived higher intelligence.
It’s not just about the corporate world only. Even in sports, taller persons are preferred. Coaches are often willing to train a tall person lacking requisite skills than bring on a skilled, shorter person.
Another perk for being tall is having a higher income. Research shows that taller persons earn more on average. This might have a connection to the fact that they are often made leaders. Live Science reported some time ago that a tall person makes an extra $789 for every additional inch annually.
Caution is Essential
Obviously, there is a lot to benefit from being taller. But research also suggests that there is a need for caution. This is because being tall may not lead to longevity. There appears to be a trade-off.
In a study of postmenopausal women published in 2013, researchers observed that every extra four inches of height make such women more likely of having all types of cancer. This means, for instance, that post-menopausal Dutch women are at a greater risk of having cancer than their Chinese counterparts. Of course, this increases the risk of mortality.
There was a time that researchers believed that being tall made a person live longer. There are actually still many people that think along this line. The conclusion derives from the idea that height is an indicator of good hygiene and better nutrition.
However, when researchers limited their studies to a homogenous population, the reverse of the foregoing was found to be the case.
In a 2014 study from the Honolulu Heart Program, researchers focused on more than 8,000 American men of Japanese descent in assessing the relationship between height and longevity. This is a culturally and genetically homogenous group of subjects. A positive association was observed between height and deaths from all causes.
Researchers, in a different study involving over 2,600 professional athletes in Finland, found that shorter cross-country skiers lived almost seven years more than basketball players.
Taller people have been found to have more cases of certain disorders. They have a higher risk of most cancer types and have respiratory issues more. They tend to have more recurrent blood clots and are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is not exactly clear why shorter people may live longer. One explanation is that taller individuals have more cells, some of which may mutate to cause disorders such as cancer. Another is that their lungs don’t function well enough to meet the needs of their larger bodies.
Realizing that greater height may be indicative of more long-term health issues is not likely to douse interest in becoming taller. After all, the benefits that can come with that are quite tempting. It may be correct to say that people will continue to find taller persons more attractive.
However, knowing that being tall may mean a shorter lifespan should help you to make a better decision. Would you rather have more friends and make more money or live longer?
No, this is not just about considering costs and benefits. It’s about taking actions that enhance your long-term health and longevity. It’s about realizing you need to take more care of your health if you are a tall person.