The Surprising Potential Health Benefits of Being Short - Dr. Axe

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The Surprising Potential Health Benefits of Being Short


Benefits of being short - Dr. Axe

As you grow up, being short in stature often comes with some negatives, but it turns out, as you age, there are actually advantages to being on the shorter side. In fact, research shows there are some surprising health benefits of being short.

In a January 2023 column published in the New York Times, author Mara Altman relayed some of the research that shows correlations between shorter people and better health outcomes, such as greater longevity and lower rates of cancer.

Research: Potential Benefits of Being Short

Altman, a self-scribed short person, writes:

On average, short people live longer and have a lower incidence of cancer. One theory suggests this is the case because with fewer cells, there is less likelihood that one goes wrong. I’d take that over dunking a basketball any day.

The short are also inherent conservationists, which is more crucial than ever in this world of eight billion people. Thomas Samaras, who has been studying height for 40 years and is known in small circles as the Godfather of Shrink Think, a widely unknown philosophy that considers small superior, calculated that if we kept our proportions the same but were just 10 percent shorter in America alone, we would save 87 million tons of food per year (not to mention trillions of gallons of water, quadrillions of B.T.U.s of energy and millions of tons of trash).

While it may be controversial, it does make sense. Smaller people tend to eat less and utilize fewer resources for things like clothing, which helps with conservation as more and more resources become more and more scarce.

That’s not all. Other studied health benefits of being short include:

  • Less likely to suffer from age-related chronic diseases
  • More likely to reach advanced age
  • Biological advantages, such as “reduced cell replication, much lower DNA damage and reduced cancer incidence”
  • Higher sex hormone-binding globulin, which is linked to liver health, blood clotting and fighting infection
  • Better defense against diabetes
  • Reduced risk of heart disease


As you can see, plenty of research shows there are advantages to being short, both personal and environmental, but does that mean you’re doomed if you’re tall? Not necessarily.

As Dr. Rod McEver noted in the Oklahoman via Yahoo Finance:

Research on this topic is largely epidemiological. That means scientists study distributions of health outcomes in broader populations for evidence of links between those outcomes and their causes. In these types of studies, it’s often difficult to establish causation, as many other hidden factors can be at play.

In other words, take their results with a grain of salt.

That said, those of us more likely to knock our heads on low ceilings and doorways have been found to have decreased chances of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Conversely, studies have shown we’re at greater risk for varicose veins, irregular heartbeats, nerve damage in the arms and legs, and skin and bone infections.

Meanwhile, those with shorter, smaller bodies may, on average, experience fewer diet-related chronic diseases and live longer. Some researchers have suggested the life expectancy gap between the sexes is, in fact, due to height differences. (The average lifespan for U.S. women is about five years longer than for men, who are about 8% taller.)

As you can see, there are pros and cons to being short. While the evidence may not be crystal-clear, the trends are undeniable over decades of research.

So if a lack of height has you down (pun intended), hold your head up high knowing there are, indeed, potential health benefits of being short.

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