Advantages of Shorter Height

Physical advantages of shorter height

Shorter people of the same proportions as taller people have many physical advantages based on the laws of physics, and these advantages are supported by many researchers. Shorter people have faster reaction times, greater ability to accelerate body movements, stronger muscles in proportion to body weight, greater endurance, and the ability to rotate the body faster. They are also less likely to break bones in falling. As a consequence of these physical attributes, shorter people can excel as gymnasts, divers, skiers, martial artists, rock climbers, figure skaters, rodeo riders, soccer players and long distance runners. Within their weight classes they are excellent wrestlers, boxers, and weight lifters.

Shorter people are also less likely to require surgery for herniated spinal disks. In addition, shorter people are less likely to break a hip from falling. Another advantage of smaller people is that they are less likely to die in auto crashes. One study found that people weighing less than 132 pounds had the lowest risk of dying or suffering serious injuries compared to bigger people. Although height data weren't provided, it is known that height and weight tend to be correlated. Thus, lighter weight people are more likely to be shorter than heavier people. No adjustments for air bag deployment were made, although other studies have found them to negatively affect short people.

Increased longevity of shorter, smaller people

An early paper illustrating the greater longevity of shorter people appeared in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization in 1992. Since then we have presented substantial findings showing that shorter, smaller people live longer. The reason for this is that bigger bodies have more cells and these cells are subject to replacement due to wear or damage. Hayflick pointed out many years ago that most human body cells have limited capacity for duplication. Since bigger people require a larger number of duplications to reach maturity, they have fewer potential cell doublings left to replace defective or dead cells. Thus, the functional capability of vital organs declines with advanced age because damaged cells can't be replaced. A new study also showed that oxidative damage to cells increases at a higher rate with increasing height; e.g., an 18% increase in height leads to an 83% increase in cellular damage. Current gerontological thinking is that oxidative damage leads to aging and death.

A few years ago, a comprehensive study of about 300 height and cancer papers, concluded that taller people had a 20 to 60% higher incidence of cancer compared to shorter people. More recently, breast, testicular, and prostate cancer studies found taller women and men suffered from substantially higher cancer rates.

Short people are not immune to death from heart disease, cancer, and other causes. Failure to control diet, physical inactivity, overweight, depression, and anger can lead to serious health problems. Therefore, poor health and mental practices can lead to reduced longevity for people of any height.

Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease of shorter people

In 2004, we published a paper in the Medical Science Monitor. The paper reviewed published data showing that shorter people have lower cardiovascular disease. Data from Europe, California, Native American tribes, Japan, Okinawa, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, and India show large increases in coronary heart disease with increasing height. Our report was based on millions of deaths as well as both heterogeneous and homogeneous population samples.

Earlier studies by other researchers found shorter people have more cardiovascular disease than taller people or that there is little difference between tall and short people. A recent large study in Korea found no significant relation between height and heart disease. In recent years, researchers have also reported that increased risk of heart disease in short people may be due to higher levels of cholesterol and body weight.

Many studies from traditional societies have found very little to no cardiovascular disease among these populations which are almost always quite short and light. We believe Western studies that conflict with ours are corrupted by several factors: accelerated growth of small babies, being overweight during childhood and adulthood, lower socioeconomic levels, and bad diets. Many studies that conflict with our findings are based on small population samples involving a small number of deaths. In addition, low birth weight children that experience accelerated growth have increased risk of adult coronary heart disease and diabetes. Thus, the practice of promoting catch-up growth or overfeeding of low birth weight children can increase adult mortality of some shorter people. Another potential problem is that most researchers compare leaner tall people to shorter, stockier people, which can favor taller people and provide misleading results.

Reduced negative impact on the environment, water needs, and resource consumption

A population of 6 billion people averaging 6' and 190 pounds can impact human survival by creating more pollution and depletion of resources, such as water, energy, minerals, farm land, and oil. The reason for this is that a 6' person weighing 190 pounds is 73% heavier and has 44% more surface area than a 5' person weighing 110 pounds. (The weight difference is based on tall and short people having the same proportions.)

If the future US population increased by 20%, we would need additional 1.5 billion tons of minerals, plastics, and metals; 86 trillion additional gallons of fresh water; 180 million additional acres of farm land; and 80 million added tons of garbage. We would also produce 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide which is involved in global heating. And virtually everything else we use in modern society would increase since things are usually scaled to average human size.