Tall people may earn more but they also carry an elevated risk of cancer, a new study has shown.
According to Brisbane geneticist Brian McEvoy, research has indicated that taller people are more likely to be diagnosed with thyroid, breast, pancreatic and bowel cancers than their vertically challenged colleagues.
AdvertisementHowever, short people are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis, the expert said.
To reach the conclusion, McEvoy and colleague Peter Visscher, of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, reviewed 70 scientific studies on human height.
In the study, which will be published in the December edition of the journal, Economics and Human Biology, McEvoy said the results were not "predictive of any particular individual", reports The Courier Mail.
One of the first genes to be associated with height, known as HMG2A, has been found to be over-abundant in many types of cancerous tumours while another height-linked gene, GDF5, is believed to be involved in osteoarthritis.
"People with lower levels of GDF5 protein tend to have shorter bones and less cartilage, leading to increased wear and tear at their joints and the pain and movement problems that characterise osteoarthritis," McEvoy said.
He added: "Plausible genetic routes are beginning to emerge to biologically explain the statistical correlation between height and many health outcomes."
In the research, experts also found a clear link between being tall and improved socioeconomic outcomes.
"One Australian study found that a 10cm increase in height was associated with a 3 per cent increase in hourly wages," McEvoy said.
He added: "Why that is, I'm not so sure. One suggestion is that taller people may grow up to be more confident and that comes through in later life.
"If you're taller as a child, perhaps you grow up to have a better self-image and that leads to better interpersonal skills and that, perhaps, leads to earning more."