An individual’s height is many a time associated with health aspects. A good number of studies were carried out to understand if there could be any link between height and alleged health risks. A recent study by a group of researchers from Colorado’s Rocky Mountain medical center confirmed and added more density to those claims. Their study reported that a taller person could have a higher risk of diseases such as peripheral neuropathy or atrial fibrillation.
Being Tall Or Short: What Does It Mean For Your Health?
Height has been associated with health aspects in many past studies.
There is research that talks about how a tall person is happier than a shorter person while a short person lives a longer life than a tall one.
Other analyses have been carried out to understand the risk of diseases if you’re taller than average height.
They included a person’s height as well as other environmental factors affecting it into account.
All such experiments and data are observed to create a more personalized assessment of one’s health.
Researchers suggest that these data can help provide medical advice that is customized to the individual’s genetic makeup and tailor-make treatments. That said, more research needs to be carried out to convert this data into clinical care, says the team.
The Study: Height and Associated Disease Risk
The phenome-wide study was carried out majorly on the non-Hispanic American population.
The phenome of an individual contains the visible traits - traits that are expressed. In this case, it is the measured height of the participants.
They collected data from the MVP- Million Veteran Program biobank.
The study aimed to understand if a person’s height alone was associated with health risks, not including the environmental factors.
The height of an individual is influenced by two factors – the genes they inherit and the environment they grow in.
They recorded two sets of data, one with genetically-predicted height and the other with contributing environmental factors such as nutrition and economic conditions.
The study tried to find associations to diseases such as coronary heart disease, fat levels, and a few cancers.
Details Of Metrics Observed
- The number of participants was over 323,000, all military veterans.
- Their average height was 176cm, and their age ranged between 55 and 62.
- The participants were divided into three categories: Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic-American.
- This study picked 3290 different clinical traits and associated them with height.
- They compared the genetically-predicted height of a person and the actual height of the person – to see which was linked to disease risk.
- It was a randomized meta-analysis conducted based on multi-race population data.
- With the genetic and health information they collected from the MVP database, researchers analyzed 3290 height-related variants and their association with disease risk.
- They found that 345 traits out of the total were linked to measured height in non-Hispanic white men and 362 traits in non-Hispanic black men.
- Out of these, two were linked to genetically-predicted height in non-Hispanic black men and 127 in non-Hispanic white men.
- They found that height had a decreasing risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia – broadly called the cardiovascular conditions and associations to varicose veins.
- On the other hand, it had an increased risk for conditions like atrial fibrillation, peripheral neuropathy, and infections of the skin and bone.
What’s Your Genetic Risk for Atrial Fibrillation?
Answers to this and more in the Gene Health Report!
The study analyzed over 3000 clinical traits and checked for their correlation to height.
They reported that height does have links to increased or protective disease association.
A tall adult is more susceptible to suffering from peripheral neuropathy or infections of the skin and has lower chances of getting cardiovascular diseases.
In women, they found a strong correlation between asthma and a few peripheral nerve conditions and height.
However, researchers of this study suggested that more such studies were needed to translate this information into medical use.
Changing What Can Be Changed: Mitigating Your Health Risks
Your height may be out of your control.
But, changing other aspects of your health isn’t.
The health risks associated with height can be influenced by lifestyle habits which you can change in your favor.
Although tall people are at higher risk for certain diseases, knowing this information can help you detect and avoid them early.
You can make better food choices, sleep differently, and reduce alcohol intake or smoking.
Advanced diagnosis of any disease can surely help to prevent them easily.
- A recent study released in the journal of PLOS genetics suggested that adult height can be related to certain health risks.
- A group of researchers from Rocky Mountain medical center in Colorado conducted a randomized study using data from the US Million Veteran Program biobank, a mega database containing information on genes, health, etc.
- They analyzed data on participants divided into three groups: Non-Hispanic whites, Non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic populations.
- The study confirmed the previous claims of height is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk and increased occurrence of atrial fibrillation. They also found novel associations with peripheral neuropathy and skin or bone infections.
- Knowing your health risks better in the early stages can help prevent them easily.