open access

Vol 83, No 1 (2024): Folia Morphologica
Original article
Submitted: 2023-01-11
Accepted: 2023-01-19
Published online: 2023-01-26
Get Citation

The association between body height and longevity: evidence from a national population sample

Piotr Paweł Chmielewski1
·
Pubmed: 36703543
·
Folia Morphol 2024;83(1):139-145.
Affiliations
  1. Division of Anatomy, Department of Human Morphology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland

open access

Vol 83, No 1 (2024): Folia Morphologica
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Submitted: 2023-01-11
Accepted: 2023-01-19
Published online: 2023-01-26

Abstract

Background: A wealth of research suggests that taller individuals are healthier and live longer than their shorter counterparts, although conflicting results have been reported. This study aims to investigate whether taller individuals in Poland exhibit greater longevity compared to their shorter counterparts.

Materials and methods: Data on declared height were collected from 848,860 adults who died in the years 2004–2008 in Poland. To eliminate the cohort effects, Z-values were computed. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were calculated independently for males and females. Subsequently, one way ANOVA was performed.

Results: The correlation between adult height and longevity was negative and statistically significant in both men and women. After eliminating the effects of secular trends in height, the correlation was very weak (r = –0.0044 in men and r = –0.0038 in women) but significant (p = 0.023 and p = 0.022, respectively).

Conclusions: Despite the significant correlation observed between the two variables, it should be noted that the relationship between height and longevity is very weak and tenuous. Overall, these results do not support the hypothesis that taller individuals have a longevity advantage. Further research is warranted to identify the underlying biological mechanisms driving this phenomenon as well as to explore additional variables affecting human longevity.

Abstract

Background: A wealth of research suggests that taller individuals are healthier and live longer than their shorter counterparts, although conflicting results have been reported. This study aims to investigate whether taller individuals in Poland exhibit greater longevity compared to their shorter counterparts.

Materials and methods: Data on declared height were collected from 848,860 adults who died in the years 2004–2008 in Poland. To eliminate the cohort effects, Z-values were computed. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were calculated independently for males and females. Subsequently, one way ANOVA was performed.

Results: The correlation between adult height and longevity was negative and statistically significant in both men and women. After eliminating the effects of secular trends in height, the correlation was very weak (r = –0.0044 in men and r = –0.0038 in women) but significant (p = 0.023 and p = 0.022, respectively).

Conclusions: Despite the significant correlation observed between the two variables, it should be noted that the relationship between height and longevity is very weak and tenuous. Overall, these results do not support the hypothesis that taller individuals have a longevity advantage. Further research is warranted to identify the underlying biological mechanisms driving this phenomenon as well as to explore additional variables affecting human longevity.

Get Citation

Keywords

adult height, body height, lifespan, longevity, stature, survival

About this article
Title

The association between body height and longevity: evidence from a national population sample

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 83, No 1 (2024): Folia Morphologica

Article type

Original article

Pages

139-145

Published online

2023-01-26

Page views

1164

Article views/downloads

5307

DOI

10.5603/FM.a2023.0005

Pubmed

36703543

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2024;83(1):139-145.

Keywords

adult height
body height
lifespan
longevity
stature
survival

Authors

Piotr Paweł Chmielewski

References (35)
  1. Bartke A. Healthy aging: is smaller better? - a mini-review. Gerontology. 2012; 58(4): 337–343.
  2. Bartke A. Somatic growth, aging, and longevity. NPJ Aging Mech Dis. 2017; 3: 14.
  3. Beard AS, Blaser MJ. The ecology of height: the effect of microbial transmission on human height. Perspect Biol Med. 2002; 45(4): 475–498.
  4. Bielicki T, Charzewski J. Body height and upward social mobility. Ann Hum Biol. 1983; 10(5): 403–408.
  5. Black RE, Brown KH, Becker S. Effects of diarrhea associated with specific enteropathogens on the growth of children in rural Bangladesh. Pediatrics. 1984; 73(6): 799–805.
  6. Blagosklonny MV. Big mice die young but large animals live longer. Aging (Albany NY). 2013; 5(4): 227–233.
  7. Chmielewski P, Borysławski K. Understanding the links between month of birth, body height, and longevity: why some studies reveal that shorter people live longer – further evidence of seasonal programming from the Polish population. Anthropol Rev. 2016; 79(4): 375–395.
  8. Chmielewski P. Leukocyte count, systemic inflammation, and health status in older adults: a narrative review. Anthropol Rev. 2018; 81(1): 81–101.
  9. Chmielewski P. 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. Anthropol Rev. 2016; 79(4): 439–460.
  10. Chmielewski PP, Strzelec B. Elevated leukocyte count as a harbinger of systemic inflammation, disease progression, and poor prognosis: a review. Folia Morphol. 2018; 77(2): 171–178.
  11. Finch CE, Crimmins EM. Inflammatory exposure and historical changes in human life-spans. Science. 2004; 305(5691): 1736–1739.
  12. Gunnell D, Rogers J, Dieppe P. Height and health: predicting longevity from bone length in archaeological remains. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2001; 55(7): 505–507.
  13. He Q, Morris BJ, Grove JS, et al. Shorter men live longer: association of height with longevity and FOXO3 genotype in American men of Japanese ancestry. PLoS One. 2014; 9(5): e94385.
  14. Kabat GC, Anderson ML, Heo M, et al. Adult stature and risk of cancer at different anatomic sites in a cohort of postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013; 22(8): 1353–1363.
  15. Kemkes-Grottenthaler A. The short die young: the interrelationship between stature and longevity-evidence from skeletal remains. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005; 128(2): 340–347.
  16. Krzyżanowska M, Umławska W. Measured versus self-reported body height. Int J Anthropol. 2002; 17(2): 113–120.
  17. Little MA. Evolutionary strategies for body size. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2020; 11: 107.
  18. Maier AB, van Heemst D, Westendorp RGJ. Relation between body height and replicative capacity of human fibroblasts in nonagenarians. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2008; 63(1): 43–45.
  19. Marco-Gracia FJ, Puche J. The association between male height and lifespan in rural Spain, birth cohorts 1835-1939. Econ Hum Biol. 2021; 43: 101022.
  20. Martorell R, Habicht JP, Yarbrough C, et al. Acute morbidity and physical growth in rural Guatemalan children. Am J Dis Child. 1975; 129(11): 1296–1301.
  21. Miller RA, Harper JM, Galecki A, et al. Big mice die young: early life body weight predicts longevity in genetically heterogeneous mice. Aging Cell. 2002; 1(1): 22–29.
  22. Nunney L. Size matters: height, cell number and a person's risk of cancer. Proc Biol Sci. 2018; 285(1889).
  23. Olfert MD, Barr ML, Charlier CM, et al. Self-Reported vs. measured height, weight, and BMI in young adults. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018; 15(10).
  24. Paajanen TA, Oksala NKJ, Kuukasjärvi P, et al. Short stature is associated with coronary heart disease: a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis. Eur Heart J. 2010; 31(14): 1802–1809.
  25. Pawlowski B, Dunbar RI, Lipowicz A. Tall men have more reproductive success. Nature. 2000; 403(6766): 156.
  26. Perkins JM, Subramanian SV, Davey Smith G, et al. Adult height, nutrition, and population health. Nutr Rev. 2016; 74(3): 149–165.
  27. Rietveld CA, Hessels J, van der Zwan P. The stature of the self-employed and its relation with earnings and satisfaction. Econ Hum Biol. 2015; 17: 59–74.
  28. Salaris L, Poulain M, Samaras TT. Height and survival at older ages among men born in an inland village in Sardinia (Italy), 1866-2006. Biodemography Soc Biol. 2012; 58(1): 1–13.
  29. Samaras TT. Shorter height is related to lower cardiovascular disease risk: a narrative review. Indian Heart J. 2013; 65(1): 66–71.
  30. Sear R, Marlowe FW. How universal are human mate choices? Size does not matter when Hadza foragers are choosing a mate. Biol Lett. 2009; 5(5): 606–609.
  31. Sear R. Height and reproductive success: How a Gambian population compares with the west. Hum Nat. 2006; 17(4): 405–418.
  32. Sohn K. Now, the taller die earlier: the curse of cancer. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016; 71(6): 713–719.
  33. Wilhelmsen L, Svärdsudd K, Eriksson H, et al. Factors associated with reaching 90 years of age: a study of men born in 1913 in Gothenburg, Sweden. J Intern Med. 2011; 269(4): 441–451.
  34. Wirén S, Häggström C, Ulmer H, et al. Pooled cohort study on height and risk of cancer and cancer death. Cancer Causes Control. 2014; 25(2): 151–159.
  35. You C, Zhou Z, Wen J, et al. Polygenic scores and parental predictors: an adult height study based on the United Kingdom biobank and the Framingham heart study. Front Genet. 2021; 12: 669441.

Regulations

Important: This website uses cookies. More >>

The cookies allow us to identify your computer and find out details about your last visit. They remembering whether you've visited the site before, so that you remain logged in - or to help us work out how many new website visitors we get each month. Most internet browsers accept cookies automatically, but you can change the settings of your browser to erase cookies or prevent automatic acceptance if you prefer.

By VM Media Group sp. z o.o., Grupa Via Medica, Świętokrzyska 73, 80–180 Gdańsk, Poland

tel.: +48 58 320 94 94, faks: +48 58 320 94 60, e-mail: viamedica@viamedica.pl