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Bad news for short people

Short people are at greater risk for heart disease than tall people, according to a new study.

Tuula Paajanen of the University of Tampere in Finland analyzed 52 studies involving more than 3 million people and found that short adults were about 1.5 times as likely to develop heart disease and to die from it than tall people. This was true for both men and women, the researchers reported in the European Heart Journal. Anyone shorter than 5-foot-3 was considered short. Anyone taller than 5-foot-7 was considered tall.

Although there have been previous studies indicating that short people might be at increased risk for heart disease, the new analysis is the first systematic review of the medical literature. The researchers hope the findings will spur more research to try to explain why short people may be at increased risk. It could be because they have smaller arteries supplying blood to their hearts, which get clogged more easily. Or it could be that their shortness indicates they were malnourished or had some kind of infection early in life that retarded their growth and also put them at increased risk for heart problems.

Whatever the explanation, the researchers say the findings suggest that doctors should include shortness as another risk factor for heart disease, similar to obesity.

By Rob Stein  |  June 9, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Cardiovascular Health  
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Comments

Sigh. Just another knock against short people. Information like this always reminds me of that 1978 Randy Newman tune, "Short People." Not only are we disdained and looked down upon (quite literally), not to mention less respected than those who aren't as height-challenged, now we have more severe health problems to contend with. It wasn't OUR fault that we grew up short -- we're paying someone else's bill.

Posted by: khk918 | June 9, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Next up! Short people are much more intelligent than tall people! Scientists credit the fact that short people don't smack their heads as often.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 9, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

This is all the excuse we shorties need to boot the young & healthy people out of handicapped seating on Metro. :)

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 9, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Also, we short people are among the last to realize when it is raining, and we are therefore more susceptible to pneumonia, lightning and hail damage.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 9, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Sweet, now all we need is for the gov't to recognize short people as disabled so I can stop working and get a gov't check for the rest of my "shortened" life.

Posted by: madmax8600 | June 9, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

As a tall person, next time I am on the metro I will give my seat up to a short person. They have such shorter...I mean...abbreivated heart attack free lives. God Bless them ;)

Posted by: Helpsomeone | June 9, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

They got little hands
Little eyes
They walk around
Tellin' great big lies
They got little noses
And tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoes
On their nasty little feet


They got little baby legs
That stand so low
You got to pick em up
Just to say hello
They got little cars
That go beep, beep, beep
They got little voices
Goin' peep, peep, peep
They got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds
They're gonna get you every time
Well, I don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
'Round here

Posted by: Mellow Yellow | June 9, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

All right, I'm laughing. (Esp. at the comment about pneumonia, lightning and hail.) I WAS feeling kind of peeved, because, don't you know, I'm so short that all that peevishness doesn't take long to build up ... but it's better now. Short fuse ... short vent valve.

Posted by: khk918 | June 9, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Young people today are growing taller just to show off. More modest short people leave a smaller carbon footprint on the world, and fit better into compact cars.

Posted by: Jihm | June 9, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

LO...MF...L
5'7" is tall? Wow they have made a couple of my co workers' day, hell lives. i can accept that as tall for a woman. But a man...A MAN!
There was a study a reported in the post, about taller people having a higher risk for cancer.
WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! Unless you're between 5'4"-5'6".

Posted by: DirtyFoote | June 9, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm a 6' tall man happily married to a 4'10" tall woman, who considers me her stepladder when we go shopping, and her windbreaker when it's gusty. In turn, she grabs things for me from the bottom shelf in the fridge and reminds me when it's time to vacuum the floors, so it all works out perfectly. :D

Posted by: kennedye | June 9, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

So you're telling me that women have higher risks of heart problems than men (there are more "short" women than "short" men)? Hard to believe. Either the reporters or the researchers must have missed something here.

Posted by: KT11 | June 9, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! Unless you're between 5'4"-5'6"."

I'm 5'5". I'm immortal!!!!!!

Posted by: WK437 | June 9, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so women, on average, are shorter than men. Is being less than 5'3" a bad sign for both? Equally? Also, some ethnic groups are pretty much ALL on the short side. Are they more affected?

I HAVE noticed that the really old men I see still walking around seem to be all tall guys! When the WWII Memorial was dedicated a few years ago in DC, I was struck by the sight of so many TALL, handsome vets of that war - all in their 80's by then.

I wish I was tall.

Posted by: bernadete | June 9, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

and we're supposed to do what about being short? just another excuse for health insurance costs to increase.

Posted by: dccooks | June 9, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Next up! Short people are much more intelligent than tall people! Scientists credit the fact that short people don't smack their heads as often.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 9, 2010 11:20 AM"

As a tall person, I can vouch for this. I hope there's a special place in hell for whoever thought it was a good idea to put TV's in the aisle on airplanes.

Posted by: simpleton1 | June 9, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

China is filled with short people who live long lives. Does this study apply only to short people in the West?

Posted by: fatman985 | June 9, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Finally something to gloat about--being 5'11' and female has been a liability much of the time, but until I start to shrink at least there's this news...

Now could I just go ahead and complain about short people who can't see over the steering wheels of their little cars--they're a real hazard on the freeway.

Posted by: albanyCA | June 9, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Sweet, now all we need is for the gov't to recognize short people as disabled so I can stop working and get a gov't check for the rest of my "shortened" life.

Posted by: madmax8600 | June 9, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse


LOL

Posted by: askgees | June 9, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I suggest all those under 5'3" go out and buy some platform shoes. If you check ebay you can pick up some good deals from the 1970s. Who knew those old platform shoes cold keep your heart healthy???

Posted by: pt1836metz | June 9, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse


They got little baby legs
That stand so low
You got to pick em up
Just to say hello
They got little Honda Civics
That go beep, beep, beep
They got little voices
Goin' peep, peep, peep
They got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds

Posted by: pt1836metz | June 9, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"China is filled with short people who live long lives. Does this study apply only to short people in the West?" Posted by: fatman985

I too was wondering about the cultural biases of this study. Perhaps it only applies to Finnish short people...? Also wondering whether weight to height ratio was taken into account, bc as someone who's not especially tall, I know the distribution of extra pounds can look very different on people of different heights.

Posted by: pollosmoky | June 9, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating and crazy at the same time.

If anyone is interested in more information about heart disease, Visiting Nurse Service of New York has loads of information at http://www.vnsny.org/home-health-care-and-you/education/living-with-heart-disease/

Posted by: stav | June 14, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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