Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
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27-05-2011, 12:33 PM
 
Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
I've been told so many times that my life expectancy is shortened because of my height. I'm 6'7'', a giant among many, but so is the rest of my family. A lot of my older relatives have back problems because of our height, some even dislocated a disk. We have family who have a hunched back from working over a desk for long periods of time. Several have developed heart problems, myself included, because our blood needs to travel farther than those of medium to shorter heights.

About five years ago, my grandfather passed away. He was 6'4'', 180lbs, and 76 years of age. I've been told that my life expectancy is about 60-65, but my grandfather had died close to 80 years. So now I'm a bit pissed, but confused, are folks as tall as I am expected to pass on around 60 years of age?

(Please note, this question excludes the use of alcohol and drugs. This is directed more towards tall people who have had a balanced diet and live active/productive lives.)
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27-05-2011, 12:42 PM
 
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
Oh my goat... -_-

Yeah, there are a few studies here and there that support this (Samaras et al, 2003 for example) but this is basically -to cite Hubert Farnsworth- scientific dribble. Most studies that claim so do not measure life expectancy per se but generally the age of death. This can be as circumstantial as it gets.

There is more to be found on sex chromosomal abnormality and its effect on life expectancy than there is on height, or goat forbid, penis size! Dodgy
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28-05-2011, 04:29 AM
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
I'm ~6,1" and I can remember hearing something like that before. I don't know about scientific evidence, but thinking about it it would make sense that taller people would be more likely to have bad backs, and slightly worse health because of that, but I'm not convinced that would make a discernable change to life expectancy.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

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30-05-2011, 02:23 PM
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
I believe the issues with life expectancy in tall people is more concerned with gigantism, such as with Robert Wadlow and Sandy Allen. If you're otherwise healthy and still reach these heights there's likely no reason to expect a shorter life because of it.
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31-05-2011, 10:53 AM
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
And hey, even were it true, brightest stars and so on. Everybody envies the tall, I might be willing to trade a few years for a few inches.
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07-06-2011, 02:27 AM
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
I'm 1m99 (6'6" if I'm not mistaken) too. There are some advantages, but sometimes I'd like to be a little smaller: an inch or two would be just right:

Some problems we tall people can experience (that can cause medical problems):

- Seating in airplanes. Economy class is pure torture for us tall people
- Smaller cars. I always have neck pains when I'm cramped like a sardine
- Door frames: aside from the occasional headache, (when I'm wearing shoes, I tend to bang my head against the frame), their're still made in hobbit sizes
- Navy ships: 5 years on ships with ceilings ranging from 1m85 to 2m will cause damage to some vertebrae.
- Firefighter oufits with fireproof boots that go up to size 45 (I have a 49). Long story short: toes cracked...
- The stress of finding adequate clothing: I'm an XXL even though I'm not fat at all.
- Higher costs for everything. We eat more food and often need specialized, bigger stuff that isn't available in standard stores. Similar incomes would result in a lower living standard when compared to an average person
- Standing out in crowds. Handy when at concerts, but we get picked out more often. We can't hide...


Ok, it's not that bad, but I consider it a handicap from time to time. I have a permanent damage to my neck vertebrae, often use valium. My eyesight is bad (-3.50) because my eyeballs were stretched out when I was growing too fast during my puberty. And I really hate the fact that I have to pay 2x to 3x the price of normal shoes.

I can imagine really tall people experiencing even more medical problems that result in a lower life expectancy.

"Infinitus est numerus stultorum." (The number of fools is infinite)
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13-06-2011, 03:06 AM (This post was last modified: 13-06-2011 03:11 AM by DeepThought.)
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
I think allot of comes down to size and lifestyle. Larger animals go through many more cell divisions and require more cell turnover for that larger body so the stem cell lines get depleted much faster meaning organs and things that stuff up in the body aren't able to be repaired sooner. (i'm talking about the specialized stem cells)

If you keep fit - 30min cardio/day, never let yourself get overweight, minimise your sugar/salt intake, your heart should last you a long long time.

I think that estimate of 60-65 years is rubbish especially considering that medicine and life expectancy is only improving.

If you keep your weight down/reduce your cell turnover you should be more than fine. Especially if you stay active. Exercise does something that causes the cells to make Telomerase and lengthen Telomeres. Doesn't reverse aging but definitely slows it.

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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12-09-2012, 06:48 PM
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
(27-05-2011 12:33 PM)Indoril Wrote:  I've been told so many times that my life expectancy is shortened because of my height. I'm 6'7'', a giant among many, but so is the rest of my family. A lot of my older relatives have back problems because of our height, some even dislocated a disk. We have family who have a hunched back from working over a desk for long periods of time. Several have developed heart problems, myself included, because our blood needs to travel farther than those of medium to shorter heights.

About five years ago, my grandfather passed away. He was 6'4'', 180lbs, and 76 years of age. I've been told that my life expectancy is about 60-65, but my grandfather had died close to 80 years. So now I'm a bit pissed, but confused, are folks as tall as I am expected to pass on around 60 years of age?

(Please note, this question excludes the use of alcohol and drugs. This is directed more towards tall people who have had a balanced diet and live active/productive lives.)
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12-09-2012, 07:10 PM
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
I can't remember where, (maybe Eagleman et all ??), that said tall people experience the world slightly differently than short people, and the conduction takes longer to "get up there". Heh heh.
http://mindhacks.com/2009/05/19/tall-peo...nsory-lag/

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12-09-2012, 07:26 PM
RE: Do Taller People have a Shorter Life Expectancy?
Based on my research, height is about 10% of the longevity picture. Therefore, genetics, diet, education, economic class, nutrition, medical care, etc are the most important factors. However, many studies show that shorter people live longer than taller ones. Professor Bartke recently wrote a review on body size and longevity and concluded smaller size tends to promote greater longevity within a species. While bigger species tend to live longer than smaller ones, within the same species, it appears that the smaller individual lives longer than the larger one. Examples include dogs, horses, mice, rats and Asian elephants vs African elephants.

In 2012, Salaris, Poulain and Samaras published their findings on longevity in Sardinia. Sardinia is noted for having the highest percentage of centenarians in Europe and Sardinians are the shortest Europeans. Salaris reported that as people in Sardinia got shorter, they lived longer. The longest living people are from Villagrande Strisaili where the people are shorter than the rest of Sardinia. She wanted to see if within this relatively isolated population, height was related to longevity. Her data showed that men shorter than 5'3 lived ~2 years longer than those over 5'3. Their average height was 5'3.

Holzenberger in 1990 found that shorter Spanish men lived longer than taller ones. His study was based on over 1 million deceased men.

Similar, but smaller findings, have been found in Sweden, Ohio, Paris, Okinawa, Hawaii and the San Diego Veterans Administration. Samaras also found US baseball players, basketball players and football players followed the same pattern.

Chan, Suzuki, and Yamamoto observed that if you want to live to be 100 years old, being short and lean is an advantage. An Italian report based on 2500 centenarians also noted that being short and lean was an advantage.

There are many biological reasons for the reduced life span of taller, heavier people.
They are described in the book: Samaras: Human Body Size and the Laws of Scaling, Nova Science Publishers, NY.

I would like to emphasize that the above findings apply to groups of people not to individuals. John Kenneth Galbraith was 6'7 and lived to 98 years of age. However, he was thin. Tall people need to eat a healthful diet, exercise moderately, keep their weight on the low end for their height and follow good health practices. In addition, a tall, thin person can live longer than a short, stocky one. Taller, higher income people also tend to live longer than shorter, poor people. In addition, many taller men live longer than shorter women (although women have a 4 to 6 years longer life expectancy and are much more numerous in terms of 100 year old survivors. Exception: men in Villagrande Strisaili are equally represented with women in the 100 year category)

With advances in medical science, I'm sure tall as well as short people will live longer than in the past.

There are over 40 papers and books showing a relationship between shorter height and greater longevity. If you are interested in the research on height and the harmful ramifications of promoting bigger human size, a list is provided at web site: http://humanbodysize.com
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