The ideal men, for many women, are “tall, dark and handsome.” You may find yourself falling “short” of that criteria, and this can be discouraging. Luckily, this article will give you something to brag about. You have the elixir of life flowing through your veins, and you probably didn’t even know it!
If you “short” of didn’t know the benefits of being short, this article will give you a shortcut to your answer.
Studies conducted with populations around the world confirmed that there is a relationship between height and lifespan. Shorter people tend to live longer than their towering companions. It’s not because of anything they’ve done per se; it’s just in their genes.
What’s Considered Short?
If you’ve found yourself accounting for every fraction of an inch when you talk about your height, or if you’ve been the center of short jokes, or even if you frequently ask for help reaching high items, you’re probably short.
For a better definition, and for the purpose of scientific study, anything 5’2” and shorter is considered short. The average height of an American male is 5’9”.
Researchers have discovered a longevity gene called FOXO3 that is linked to body size. This gene, or a gene similar to it, is also found in animals such as mice, roundworms, flies and yeast, and is just as important to the body size of these species.
But back to humans. People who have a “protective” version of the FOXO3 gene are twice as likely to live to 100, and three times more likely if they inherit the gene from both parents. Sadly, only 4% of people have this protective version.
Height and Illness
FOXO3 acts as a stress resistant gene by destroying harmful agents in the body like cancer cells. Taller people, having a weaker FOXO3 gene, are more likely to develop certain illnesses and various types of cancer.
In one of the world’s largest studies involving 8,000 subjects, researchers at the University of Hawaii of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, Kuakini Medical Center and U.S. Veterans Affairs found that people 5’2” and shorter had lower fasting insulin levels and were less likely to develop cancer.
Studies of height and life expectancy in women and various ethnicities are not as abundant, but researchers are confident that the same results will be revealed for these groups. Women, on average, are shorter than men at 5’4”, so this FOXO3 gene may even help explain why women live longer than men.
Good News For Tall People
Americans are living much longer than their ancestors. The average life expectancy of an American man in 1820 was 39 years of age. That number has risen to 75, yet we are a few inches taller than our ancestors. This can be due to an improved lifestyle overall.
Height only accounts for 10% of your life’s expectancy. Regardless of your height, adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly improve your life’s longevity, but when it comes to genes, this time, tall people get the short-end of the stick.