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The long and the short of it; What height, or lack of it, means for you.

Byline: RACHAEL BLETCHLY

TALL people are more prone to cancer.

So says a Swedish study of 5.5 million people. It found that for every 10cm of extra height the risk goes up by 18% for women (20% for breast cancer) and 11% for men.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute and University of Stockholm believe it's all down to our growth hormones.

But experts say the effect on overall cancer risk is small - so today we highlight the highs and lows of being long or short.

rachael.bletchly@mirror.co.uk

SHORT MEN GET FEWER DATES

A recent study found 48.9% of women restricted online dating searches to men taller than them, and 29% said they'd feel awkward with a shorter man, even seeing them as less masculine. One 5ft 4in blogger added 5in to his height on OkCupid and saw his response rate double. Not surprisingly then, the chances of a man under 5ft 6in tall getting married are 18% lower.

SHORT STRAW SHORT MEN ARE MORE LIKELY TO DIE FROM DEMENTIA

A University of Edinburgh study of 22,000 people found men less than 5ft 5in are 50% likelier to develop and die from dementia. The academics say height can be a reflection of poor nutrition, stress and illness and warn that lifelong damage while the body is growing may not be apparent until much later in life.

SHORT STRAW SHORT MEN LIVE LONGER

They are more likely to carry the FOXO3 gene, that has been proven to increase lifespan in animal tests and is now linked to human height. A study of more than 8,000 men in Hawaii found FOXO3 restricts body size in early development and increases life expectancy. Short men are also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and they are less likely to get cancer.

SMALL COMFORT STAND TALL PEOPLE ARE HAPPIER

A 2005 Swedish study found suicides twice as common among men shorter than average. Every 5cm increase in height was associated with a 9% drop in suicide risk, even with other factors taken into account. Researchers said psychological stress and disrupted family life in childhood may impair growth. In an Oxford University experiment last year 60 women went on two virtual reality Tube trips. On the second, changed perspectives made them seem a head shorter - and they reported increased feelings of paranoia and incompetence.

TALL PEOPLE EARN MORE....BECAUSE THEY'RE CLEVERER.

A US study found tall people enjoy a "height premium" at work. A 6ft worker - invariably a man - is likely to earn [euro]130,000 more in a 30-year career than someone 5ft 4in, researchers at Ohio State University found.

STAND TALL

They added that every extra inch in height converts to hundreds of pounds a year. Experts say it is not just an unconscious belief that big is better.

They claim tall people are more intelligent and have greater social skills. They are also likely to have been better nourished as children and have grown up in a healthy environment. That helps give them the edge when it comes to fulfilling their hopes of social success.

TALLER WOMEN MORE LIKELY TO HAVE TWINS.

New York obstetrician Dr Gary Steinman has linked twin and triplet births to higher levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a protein released from the liver in response to growth hormones. IGF makes a woman's ovaries release more eggs, increasing multiple births, and it also stimulates the growth of long bones. Dr Steinman compared the heights of 129 mothers who gave birth to twins or triplets and found they were, on average, more than an inch taller than other women.

TALL PEOPLE ARE MORE POPULAR

At 6ft 4in, Abraham Lincoln would tower above 6ft 1in Barack Obama, who is still 3in taller than the average American. A recent study found the taller candidate has won the popular vote in 67% of all US presidential elections. Psychologists say it is because our primitive ancestors picked big, strong friends to help them win and protect food, shelter, and territory, giving them more chance of living longer and producing more children. And modern studies show we perceive individuals with more authority as taller than they really are - and we ascribe higher professional status to taller people too.

TALL PEOPLE GET MORE INJURIES

The bigger they come, the harder they fall. A person who is 20% taller will build up twice as much kinetic energy in a tumble. Women 5ft 8in tall are twice as likely to fracture hips as women of just 5ft 2in. A 2011 study in Norway found 6ft-tall men were 2.6 times more likely to have a blood clot in the leg than men under 5ft 8in. The risk was also higher in taller women.

SMALL COMFORT SHORT MEN MAKE BETTER PARTNERS

Forget tall, dark and handsome. Two American sociologists discovered that shorter blokes do a greater share of the housework, earn a greater proportion of household income and are less likely than their taller pals to get divorced. And, once married, they have more sex. A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found men under 5ft 7in had the highest "coital frequency".

SMALL COMFORT SHORT MEN MAY BE AT GREATER RISK OF HEART DISEASE

The risk of coronary heart disease rises 14% for every two inches men lack in height, Leicester University researchers found. The 180 genes known to influence height, many of which make men shorter, were also linked to higher levels of "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides - and both of these can raise the risk of heart disease.

CAPTION(S):

MIRANDA HART 6ft 1in

WINNER 6ft 4in Abraham Lincoln

HIGH AND MIGHTY At 8 ft 11in, Robert Wadlow was the tallest known man in history
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 3, 2015
Words:956
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