If you can’t run with the big dogs…live long

I was working out the other day and I mentioned offhandedly that I was short so I needed to take care of my joints because short people have less cartilage in their joints and are more prone to arthritis. My tall companion was shocked by this. But it’s true. Short people are more likely to get arthritis than taller or average sized folks. The health woes of short folks doesn’t stop there.

People with short legs compared to their bodies also face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  The average leg to height ratio or inseam to height ratio is 45%. If your ratio is less than this, you will want to take extra care to avoid sweets and the subsequent heart inflammation they can cause. It’s believed that the substance that causes growth, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), acts as an anti-inflammatory. Less of that, more inflammation.

However, there are perks that go along with being short. Short people are less likely to get cancer. The IGF-1 that stimulates growth can also stimulate cancer cells to grow. If you are tall, you’ll want to avoid cancer promoters such as smoking and alcohol. Yes, sad but true, alcohol promotes tumor growth. So do pesticides although the link is not clear and may be limited to childhood exposure. Tall people DO tend to fall harder and be less pleasing in bed. They are less limber. Despite this, they are the clothing models, although short people can be swim suit models. They are the ones hired for the job and winning the elections. Tall people are more confident–and more likely to get bitten by bugs. I’ll have to use that last factoid in a novel!

Short people are more prone to live longer due to genetics. They are more likely to have more children and maintain their fertility longer. And of course, a shortie can tuck into an airline seat with no problem. I even find it easy to sneak up on people. One time I was sitting and waiting for an appointment and the boss (former boss)  ran out of his office ranting that he was going to kick various asses. Then he said in astonishment,”I didn’t see you there.”  Hehe.

There are over 40 genes that regulate height. The ideal height and the health effects of height haven’t been studied much yet. Certainly we need to look into this more before we start editing our offspring to be tall. In fact, we need to consider that a preference for tallness in our society is prejudice, as Europeans are taller than people from other parts of the world. In any case, people of various heights can be aware of their health risks and take steps to keep healthy and to live long and prosper. And short people, We now know why you stay on the porch…wink, wink. Little boy checking his height at hospital

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