Shorter Men Found to Live Longer

Friday, 09 May 2014 04:43 PM

By Nick Tate

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Being tall may give some men greater stature, but a new study has found short men actually live longer.

The findings, based on a study of Japanese-American men enrolled in the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) and the Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS), indicated men who are shorter than 5-foot-4 tend to live longer, for reasons that may be linked to genetics.
 
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Bradley Willcox, M.D., one of the investigators for the study and a professor in the University of Hawaii, said the researchers reached their conclusions by comparing the height and longevity of more than 8,000 American men of Japanese ancestry born between the years 1900 and 1919.
 
"We split people into two groups – those that were 5-foot-2 and shorter, and 5-4 and taller," he said. "The folks that were 5-2 and shorter lived the longest. The range was seen all the way across from being 5-foot tall to 6-foot tall. The taller you got, the shorter you lived."
 
The study, published in the Public Library of Science Journal PLOS ONE, determined shorter men were more likely to have a protective form of the longevity gene, FOXO3, leading to smaller body size during early development and a longer lifespan. Shorter men were also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and less cancer.
 
"This study shows for the first time, that body size is linked to this gene," said Dr. Willcox. "We knew that in animal models of aging. We did not know that in humans. We have the same or a slightly different version in mice, roundworms, flies, even yeast has a version of this gene, and it's important in longevity across all these species."
 
Of the 8,000 men who were part of the study, about 1,200 men lived into their 90s and 100s, and approximately 250 of those ment are still alive today.

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