Here’s some good news for gents who may have been robbed of a few inches in height: A new study shows that shorter men may live longer.
In fact, according to data culled from researchers out of the University of Hawaii, the taller the men, the shorter they lived.
The reason? Shorter men -- defined as 5-foot-2 (157cm) and smaller -- were more likely to possess a protective form of the longevity gene FOXO3, which leads to smaller body size and a longer lifespan, researchers explained.
Shorter men were also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and lower rates of cancer.
The study was based on data from the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program, which has been tracking the health and lifestyles of 8,006 American men of Japanese ancestry since 1965. Participants were born between 1900 and 1919.
"This study shows for the first time, that body size is linked to this gene," said lead author Bradley Willcox. "We knew that in animal models of aging. We did not know that in humans. We have the same or a slightly different version in mice, roundworms, flies, even yeast has a version of this gene, and it's important in longevity across all these species."
For the University of Hawaii study, which was published in PLoS recently, researchers looked at men who were shorter than 5'2", those who were taller than 5'4", and those who fell in between.
Honolulu was chosen for boasting the longest life span of any U.S. state. Of the study participants, 1,200 men lived into their 90s and 100s, and about 250 of these men are still alive today.
Despite their findings, however, researchers stress that a healthy lifestyle can help add years to your life, “...no matter how tall you are.”
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