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Short people claim worse health

18th October 2007

Short people are more likely to claim poor mental and physical health than their taller counterparts, new research has shown.

A study of 14,000 adults in England found that short adults judge their state of health to be significantly lower than taller adults do.

The shorter people are, the more pronounced this finding was, according to the journal Clinical Endocrinology.

Researchers led by senior health economist Torsten Christensen at Novo Nordisk A/S in Denmark studied data from the 2003 Health Survey for England, carried out by the Department of Health.

Participants filled out a health-related quality of life questionnaire on five areas: mobility; self-care; usual activities; pain/discomfort; and anxiety/depression. A nurse then measured their height.

People in the shortest categories (men shorter than 162cm and women shorter than 151cm) reported significantly lower quality of life than their shorted counterparts.

The study predicts that people who are of short stature could increase their quality of life by 6.1 per cent if their height was increased by 7cm for men and 6cm for women. This is the equivalent of losing 10-15kg for an obese person.

“Although our study does not show that short height directly causes a reduction in physical and mental health, it does indicate that short people are more likely to feel that they experience a lower health-related quality of life,” said Mr Christensen.

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