There are modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for earlier death. Many lifestyle decisions constitute what can be modified such as diet and exercise behavior, avoiding smoking, reducing stress, getting married and having children.
Non-modifiable factors are encoded in the DNA and mostly at this point in biotechnological history cannot be changed.
One element that has now been described is a person’s height.
The village of Sardinia in Italy is known as a global “blue zone,” a place where the likelihood of living to 100 is exceptionally high.
Sardinians have been studied extensively looking for clue to long lifespan. In the current study researchers analyzed the role of a person’s height in their eventual lifespan.
The researchers analyzed the height of men when they entered the military at age 20 between the years of 1866 and 1915. A total of 685 subjects were analysed. These heights were then related to the persons eventual age at death.
It was found that shorter people (<161.1 cm) lived significantly longer on average than taller people (>161.1cm). Furthermore at age 70, taller people lived on average 2 years less than shorter people. At age 70 each quarter inch of height reduced lifespan by one year.
The authors write:
In conclusion, shorter people and taller people exhibit differences in longevity. Although a tall body generally reflects abundant nutrition and good living conditions during the growth period, this height has negative ramifications as well. Biological mechanisms indicate that a larger body places greater stress on cells, tissues, and organs, which can reduce longevity.