Wondering why the people of Okinawa, a Japanese island, have the longest life expectancy in the world? Their average height, slightly over 1.50 meters, could be the reason. Find out how height influences our life expectancy in this surprising article.
Height, an unsuspected asset to live longer
Height is often synonymous with a complex, especially for people considered “small”. However, science now reveals that “being smaller could be an asset to live longer”. Indeed, small people have fewer cells, which reduces the risk of developing weak cells or susceptible to disease. Thus, they could live longer than tall people.
Several recent studies have shown a link between smaller stature and longer life expectancy. For example, a 2012 study of men who served in the Italian militia found that shorter men lived an average of two years longer than taller men.
Research that confirms this trend
Researchers Luisa Salaris, Michel Poulain and Thomas T. Samaras found that participants shorter than 1.61 meters lived longer than those taller than that. This study also analyzed mortality rates for men born between 1866 and 1915 in the same Italian village.
In 2017, another study analyzed the height and life expectancy of 3,901 living and deceased basketball players who played between 1946 and 2010. The oldest athletes had an average height of about 1.97 meters. The results were intriguing, to say the least: the younger deceased players were also the tallest among their peers.
Studies with limitations, but hopeful
However, it should be noted that both studies have limitations. For example, the first study did not take into account variables such as weight, and for the second, the authors acknowledged that other factors could influence longevity, such as the lifestyle of each individual.
Despite these limitations, these studies opened the door to a change in perspective on the relationship between height and life expectancy. As a result, several research studies have been conducted to explore this issue, including those by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Cancer Research Institute.
Less risk of cancer for short people?
These institutions have established that height is related to cancer risk in different parts of the body. Cell growth may be a cause of larger size, which means that there is also a greater production of cells. So the relationship between height and increased cancer risk seems to be related to this hormonal growth, which “affects the regulation of cell growth”.
According to the journal Healthline, “as people age, cell replacement may not be available to repair tissue and organ damage in taller people.”[19659013InadditionotherstudieshavementionedtheFOX03geneanditsrelationshiptoheightandlongevityAstudyofJapaneseAmericansfoundthattheFOX03genewasmoreprevalentinshortermenofferingthemsome”geneticprotection”Thisgeneplaysakeyroleinregulatinginsulinproductionreducingtheriskofdiseasessuchasdiabetes
All of these findings may explain why the people of Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan, have historically had the longest life expectancy in the world (78 years for men and up to 88 years for women) and a 40% reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as the highest number of centenarians per capita. The average height on this island? Just over 1.50 meters.
In conclusion, while more research is needed to confirm these findings, it appears that height may play a role in our life expectancy. So don't forget to celebrate the unsuspected benefits of being short!
My name is Maggie and I'm a writer for thesilverink.com, a website dedicated to news, culture and lifestyle. I have always been passionate about writing and I decided to make it my profession by becoming a web editor. I work on counterpoint.info and I mainly take care of the lifestyle section. I like to share my discoveries and my favorites with the readers, whether it's about fashion, beauty, decoration or gastronomy.