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Height affects risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer

By Ians English

London, Feb 3: Due to dietary factors, humans are taller now -- but taller people are more prone to the risk of cancer, warns a recent study.

The taller people, though have lower risk for heart disease and Type-2 diabetes, said the study carried out by researchers in Germany.


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How tall you are is largely genetically determined but in recent decades the height of children and adults is steadily increasing. And your height has an important impact on mortality from certain common diseases, irrespective of body fat mass and other modulating factors, according to the researchers.

"Epidemiological data show that per 6.5 cm in height the risk of cardiovascular mortality decreases by six percent, but cancer mortality, by contrast, increases by four percent," said Matthias Schulze of the German Institute of Human Nutrition at Potsdam in Germany.

"Accordingly, our new data show that tall people are more sensitive to insulin and have lower fat content in the liver, which may explain their lower risk for cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes," said Norbert Stefan from the University of Tubingen in Germany.

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These findings fit in with published data that suggest that tall people have relative protection against disorders of the lipid metabolism.

The result of the study showed inverse association with the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes -- but a positive association with the risk of cancer.

Physicians should be made more aware of the fact that tall people -- although less often affected by cardiovascular disease or Type-2 diabetes -- have an increased risk of cancer.

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Hitherto, the importance of diet has been underestimated, especially during pregnancy and in children and adolescents, the scientists suggested.


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