The tall don’t always die young!

We have a saying we often bandy about: “The small shall inherit the earth.” And, indeed, knowing that eating fewer calories can lead to a longer and better life, I am envious of those who are short and can take in few calories to maintain their smaller body structure.

Some who follow a low-calorie lifestyle let their BMI drop lower and lower – thinking that the lower you go, the more life extension is gained. But that theory has little practical chance of succeeding when bone density decreases in sync with weight loss. If it goes low enough to cause osteoporosis, that can lead to increased fracture risk and often death.

Papers like this one support the relationship between height and longevity:

Is height related to longevity?

Samaras TT, Elrick H, Storms LH.

Life Sciences. 2003 Mar 7;72(16):1781-802.

Over the last 100 years, studies have provided mixed results on the mortality and health of tall and short people. However, during the last 30 years, several researchers have found a negative correlation between greater height and longevity, based on relatively homogeneous deceased population samples. Findings based on millions of deaths suggest that shorter, smaller bodies have lower death rates and fewer diet-related chronic diseases, especially past middle age. Shorter people also appear to have longer average lifespans. The authors suggest that the differences in longevity between the sexes is due to their height differences because men average about 8.0% taller than women and have a 7.9% lower life expectancy at birth. Animal experiments also show that smaller animals within the same species generally live longer. The relation between height and health has become more important in recent years because rapid developments in genetic engineering will offer parents the opportunity to increase the heights of their children in the near future. The authors contend that we should not be swept along into a new world of increasingly taller generations without careful consideration of the impact of a worldwide population of taller and heavier people.

PMID: 12586217

Reproduced with appreciation from the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, accessible online

While it may be that the hallowed domain of supercentenarians has so far been reserved for shorter folk , those of us who are tall can do quite well by following CR Way principles for a longer, better life.

Consider my Uncle Pat McGlothin who at 90 was just featured on the cover of the City View Magazine, the “what’s going on” magazine for my hometown Knoxville, Tennessee. In his youth, Pat was a quite tall: 6 feet five and a half inches. He had extraordinary athletic abilities, which earned him a place as a relief pitcher for on the Brooklyn Dodgers Teams of 1949 and 1950, one of the greatest baseball teams in history. Here’s more: McGlothin was an Artful Dodger.

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