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Being Tall May Be Good for Your Heart

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Tall men have some social advantages, and it seems they may enjoy an unexpected health benefit as well: a new study of U.S. doctors published in the American Journal of Cardiology indicates tall men are less likely than shorter ones to develop heart failure.

Data from 22,000 male doctors over a 22-year period was gathered as part of a large study of heart disease and cancer, starting when those men were in their mid-50s, on average. After responding to an initial questionnaire that asked about their height, weight and health condition, men filled out follow-up surveys where they reported new medical diagnoses each year.

After age, weight and other factors were considered, the tallest men in the study — those over six feet — were 24 percent less likely to report a heart failure diagnosis during the study period than men who were five feet, eight inches and shorter.

But Dr. Jeffrey Teuteberg, a cardiologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who was not involved in the study, was quick to point out there were a lot of variables that weren’t taken into account, such as diets or diseases when the men were younger.

“The message certainly shouldn’t be: ‘If you’re tall, don’t worry about these sorts of things, or if you’re short, you’re doomed,’” he told Reuters Health. “As much as we know about the development of very common diseases like heart failure, there’s still a lot we don’t know … [but this finding] may lead to something much more interesting down the line.”

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