Research: Taller People Have A Lower Risk Of Heart Disease And Diabetes, But Cancer 

It is an attribute written into your DNA - how tall a person will be is determined before they are born.

Yet, in recent decades the height of children and adults the world over has increased, with most generations reaching adulthood taller than their parents.

Now, a new study has revealed how tall a person is, can have far-reaching consequences for their health.

Height has an important impact on mortality, increasing the risk of a number of diseases, regardless of body fat mass and other influential factors.

Past research has shown tall people have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes than their shorter peers.

Yet, the taller a person is, the greater their risk of certain cancers.

Professor Matthias Schulze of the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam said: 

Epidemiological data show that per 6.5cm in height the risk of cardiovascular mortality decreases by six per cent.

But, cancer mortality, by contrast, increases by four per cent.

Professor Schulze, along with colleagues Professor Norbert Stefan and Professor Hans-Ulrich Häring at the University of Tübingen, and Professor Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health, suspect the increase in body height is a marker of over-nutrition of high-calorie food rich in animal protein, at different stages of growth.

Therefore, already in utero, lifelong programming likely takes place that until now has mainly been established for insulin-like growth factor one and two. 

Professor Stefan added: 

Accordingly, our new data show that tall people are more sensitive to insulin and have lower fat content in the liver, which may explain their lower risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

The findings fit in with published data that suggest tall people have relative protection against disorders of the lipid metabolism.

The authors note it is the activation of the insulin-like growth factor one and two signalling pathways that is likely linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, specifically breast and colon cancer and melanoma because cell growth is permanently activated.

The result is an inverse association with the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, but a positive association with the risk of cancer.  

The scientists advocate considering the factor growth and adult height in the prevention of the above-mentioned major diseases.

In particular, physicians should be made more aware of the fact that tall people - although less often affected by cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes - have an increased risk of cancer, the authors concluded.

Source: Daily Mail

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