Tall people have a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but a higher risk of cancer in comparison to short people, a new study has claimed.
The findings show that height has an important impact on mortality from certain common diseases, irrespective of body fat mass and other modulating factors, researchers said.
“Epidemiological data show that per 6.5 centimetres in height the risk of cardiovascular mortality decreases by 6%, but cancer mortality, by contrast, increases by 4%,” said Matthias Schulze from the German Institute of Human Nutrition.
Researchers feel that the increase in body height is a marker of over nutrition of high-calorie food rich in animal protein during different stages of growth.
Thus, already in utero, lifelong programming might take place that until now has mainly been established for the insulin like growth factor (IGF) 1 and 2 and the IGF-12 system. Among other consequences, activation of this system causes the body to become more sensitive to insulin action, thus positively influencing the lipid metabolism.
“Data shows 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,” said Norbert Stefan from the German Centre for Diabetes Research.
However, this activation of the IGF-12 system and other signalling pathways may be related to an increased risk of certain cancers, especially breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma because cell growth is permanently activated, researchers said.