A new study examined how a person’s height can affect their health and found that tall people have a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes but a higher risk of cancer.
Researchers from Germany, in collaboration with Harvard Medical School found that per 6.5 cm in height, a person’s risk of heart disease decreases by six per cent but their cancer risk increases by four per cent.
The study authors believe that dietary factors and a global increase in height in recent decades could explain the interesting results.
They suspect that the increase in height is due to over nutrition of high-calorie food during different stages of a person’s growth causing the body to become more sensitive to insulin.
“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,” says Professor Norbert Stefan of the Department of Internal Medicine IV in Tübingen.
Their findings support previous studies that suggests taller people have relative protection against metabolic disorders.
However, the authors also suspect that this activation of the insulin-like growth factor 1 and 2 may be related to an increased risk of certain cancers, especially breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma because cell growth is permanently activated.
They conclude that a person’s height should be considered in the prevention of certain cancers and that doctors, in particular, should be mindful of the fact that tall people – although less affected by heart disease or type 2 diabetes , may have an increased risk of cancer.