CHD & Height
A recent paper by Paajanen et al. appeared in the European Heart Journal reporting that short people have more coronary heart disease (CHD) problems. This was a large, and well-done study.
However, a huge amount of contradictory data indicates that the findings of this study reflect the impact of socioeconomic and other factors on CHD mortality rather than shortness as such. These contradictory findings include:
The Japanese, who are shorter than most European nations, have the lowest rate of CHD in the developed world. In addition, past studies have found that Okinawans eat less than the mainland Japanese and are shorter. Yet, in the recent past, the Okinawans had about half the heart disease, lived longer and had a higher percentage of centenarians compared to the taller mainland.
A comparison among Fiji , Japanese, and Vietnamese women found that the shorter Vietnamese women had the lowest CHD risk factors compared to taller Japanese and Fiji Islanders. The Fiji Islanders were the tallest and had the highest risk factors.
The epidemic of CHD in the US started after 1900, and its growth correlated with increasing height of the general population. A similar pattern applies to Western Europe.
An earlier study found that US males had about 16 times the mortality from CHD as rural
Chinese males. The American males were a few inches taller.
The Greeks had very low CHD in the 1960s. In recent years, they have grown taller and their CHD has reached much higher levels.
Within China, taller men had higher CHD compared to shorter ones.
In the US, based on over 8 million deaths, Whites and Blacks had almost twice the mortality as shorter Asians. Before 1940, Blacks were shorter than Whites, but had less CHD.
Large dogs have 6 times the mortality from heart disease as small dogs.
Pre-Western and non developed populations were free of heart disease when they followed their traditional plant-based diets. Few elderly people in these populations died from the chronic diseases common in today’s developed nations. They were also shorter than today’s Western populations. Note that no tall Western populations were free of CHD during the 20th century.
Shorter women have less CHD compared to taller men. This is true in most of the world.
Shorter Sardinians have lower CHD than taller northern Italians.
To read Samaras’ response to the European Heart Journal, click here.