- Each additional 4 inches of height increases the risk of all types of cancer by 13% for post-menopausal women.
- A study of Finnish athletes showed that cross-country skiers were 6 inches shorter than their basketball players, but lived 7 years longer.
- Swedes and Norwegians are 5 inches taller than Spaniards and Portuguese, but have twice as many cardiac deaths/100,000.
- In Europe, the taller half of nations has 48 centenarians/million, while the shorter half shows 77 centenarians/million.
So some contradictions:
- South Koreans are almost 3 inches taller than North Koreans, but live 12 years longer.
- At the end of World War II, Dutch men averaged 5 ft 7 in, while American men were at 5 ft 10 in--Netherlands suffered from famine conditions then, so nutrition can make a difference--now they are almost 2.5 inches taller. However, even though the Dutch are taller than Americans, they live longer.
- Americans are around 2 inches taller than those living in China, but live 5.6 years longer.
Bigger mammals tend to have a slower heart rate. Homo sapiens are off the chart.
Mammals with larger brains (relative to body size) sort of live longer:
But notice that bat up there and that big-brained whale only at mid-span, so...
Now to the sublime:
- A bristlecone pine (right) lives at least 5,000 years and grows to 60 feet.
- Redwood trees get as high as 379 feet and can live 2,000 years.
- Smaller trees like maple go up to only several hundred years, so trees do not seem to follow the small is longer-lived theory.
- Some sea urchins and clams seem to live forever, and are larger than a tiny bacterium, which can have a life expectancy of less than an hour.
But returning to the crux of the matter, the most plausible reason why, all other things being equal, taller people die earlier, is that they have more cells which can mutate into cancer. Thus, while taller people tend to have higher IQs, lifetime incomes and status in almost every society, they die off earlier. Thus, if you are short but ate well as a child, chances are you will have a longer life. Me? I'm just under the average American man, but started two inches taller than Japanese men. Today? I lost an inch, so hopefully my life expectancy is increasing.