“…in recent decades the height of children and adults has steadily increased throughout the world: In adulthood the children are almost always significantly taller than their parents.”

As noted above, height is on the rise throughout the world. An interesting crew of researchers have collaborated to study the causes and effects of increasing height. Research facilities involved with this study include: the Department of Internal Medicine IV in Tübingen, the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University of Tübingen, the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Medical School in Boston.

They have found that height alone, independent of everything else going on inside the body, is a powerful predictor of mortality  from common diseases. Correlational studies show that tall people have less risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes when compared to shorter people. However, this reduction in risk comes with a price, an increased risk of cancer.

The researchers had made the interesting observation, that the Netherlands have had the greatest relative increase in height. Coincidently, the Netherlands according to the article, are the highest consumers of milk and dairy in the world. With consideration of many data, these researches think that the height increase may be a ”marker of overnutrition of high-calorie food rich in animal protein during different stages of growth.” It is speculated that genetic modification may occur as early as pregnancy, and this modification has implications for the insulin like growth factor (IGF) system. Specifically, insulin sensitivity is increased and lipid metabolism is optimized.

"Accordingly, our new data show that tall people are more sensitive to insulin and have lower fat content in the liver, which may explain their lower risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,"

However, the door may swing both ways. With IGF system genetic modifications that lead to enhanced height, body size and healthier metabolism, comes a heightened risk of cancer. They speculated that the heightened degree of cell growth may increase risk of cancers such as: breast cancer, colon cancer and melanoma.

All in all, the researchers advocate increased awareness of these correlations. By increasing physician awareness, it may aid in enhanced disease prevention. It is also mentioned that the importance of diet has been underestimated.


Source: ScienceDaily