According to the latest scientific research into longevity, shorter people live longer than tall folk. This is the finding of scientists from Scotland’s University of Glasgow and Norway’s University of Science and Technology.
Whilst this is quite good news for me (struggling to make 5’9” flat on my back with my hair spiked up), it isn’t so good for those who can reach the biscuits off the top shelf without going on tip-toes.
Although it’s always been known that larger animal species tend to live longer than smaller ones ( an elephant for instance will live a lot longer than a rat), it is only over the last hundred years or so that it has become clear that larger individuals within a particular species tend to die earlier than shorter individuals ( a St. Bernard is likely to have a significantly shorter lifespan than a small dog such as a Jack Russell).
While the researchers were unable to fully explain why this is the case, they believe that it may have something to do with telomeres – a region of protective DNA at the ends of a chromosome.
Telomeres have been compared with the plastic tips on shoelaces, because they keep chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other, which would destroy or scramble an organism’s genetic information.
Basically, the longer the telomeres the better. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell can no longer divide; it becomes inactive or “senescent” or it dies. This shortening process is associated with aging, cancer, and a higher risk of death. So telomeres have also been compared with a bomb fuse.
“Growing a bigger body means that cells have to divide more. As a result, telomeres become eroded faster and cells and tissues function less well as a result,” said Professor Pat Monaghan of The University of Glasgow
Larger individuals tend to have smaller telomeres than shorter individuals and this could more easily lead to the onset of age-related diseases and an earlier death.
Other unrelated research bears out the fact that tall people rarely live exceptionally long lives.
A Short Survey
A study of more than 2,600 elite Finnish athletes showed that cross-country skiers were 6 inches shorter and lived nearly seven years longer than basketball players.
Even with the variations in diets and environment and culture factored in, average height in European countries closely correlates to the rate of death from heart disease. Swedes and Norwegians, who average about 5-foot-10, have more than twice as many cardiac deaths per 100,000 as the Spaniards and Portuguese, who have an average height just north of 5-foot-5.
Japanese people who reach 100 are 4 inches shorter, on average, than those who are 75. The countries in the taller half of Europe have 48 centenarians per million, compared to 77 per million in the shorter half of the continent.
It seems that you can measure your life span in inches!
Shortening The Odds
So, what can you do if you are a little on the lengthy side and you want to increase your chances of reaching one hundred? Stunt your growth with cigarettes or coffee? Drop a heavy weight on your head? I think not. You’re trying to lengthen your life, not shorten it.
There is a much easier way
According to research quoted on this blog, controlling inflammation is just as, if not more, important as telomere length, when it comes to successful ageing.
If you want to live to be a healthy centenarian, the most important thing you can do is reduce the levels of inflammation in your body.
And what is the easiest and most effective way of controlling inflammation?
Grounding Therapy, of course!
So all you stretchies out there, don’t despair.
Read my book Grounding Therapy, then order yourself some good grounding sheets.
King size of course!