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May 02, 2011


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stage iv lung cancer

interesting article. I've heard about Mr.Fogel when I first attended a seminar. He has a good finding about this increase of heights in native Americans.

thomas t samaras

I have researched height and longevity for 35 years. I have worked with researchers Elrick, Md, and Lowell Storms, PhD. We have published over 36 papers in medical and scientific journals, including the Bulletin of the World Health Organization and Acta Paediatrica. Our findings are sharply differ from those of Floud, Fogel, etc. in terms of height and longevity. For example, a world population of larger humans needs much more food, water, energy, and resources and
damages the environment.

While Waaler's study showed a higher mortality for shorter people, he did not account for differences in economic class according to Allebeck and Bergh (1992): "no data on social or economic conditions were available."In the developed world, low income people tend to be shorter, fatter and have more coronary heart disease and diabetes. Therefore, shorter people would have higher mortality because of their disadvantaged conditions, not their height per se. In addition, Waller's paper showed that between 70 and 85 years of age, men over 6 feet had an increasing mortality compared to shorter men.

My findings are primarily focused on evaluating height-longevity trends based on relatively homogeneous populations of deceased people. For example, veterans, baseball players, football players, and famous people were found to lose about .5 year per centimeter of height. A loss of .5 yr/centimeter is the same as the difference in life expectancy between US white males and females based on their height differences. And animal studies support our findings. Small dogs live longer than big dogs. So do small mice and rats compared to bigger ones. Caloric restriction provides the most powerful method for extending longevity
and this results in smaller bodies, especially when started early in life.

I don't know of any studies showing tall people live longer involving a million or more deaths. However, a California study of 1 million men and women found that shorter Asians had substantially lower mortality compared to taller Whites and Blacks. Latinos and East Indians had mortalities between Asians and
Whites/Blacks and their heights were also in between these two groups. These findings are corroborated by US Government data involving over 10 million deaths. In addition, Holzenberger et al. tracked 1.3 million men over a 70-year period and found they lost .7 year per centimeter of increased height.

While our life expectancy has increased greatly compared to 1900, this is due to sharply reduced infant
and maternal mortality. And as Floud et al. have pointed out, improvements in sanitation, antibiotics and medical care
have reduced mortality from infections and communicable diseases. However, the facts are that a 65 year old man
in 2007 only lived 7 years longer than a 65 year old in 1900. For 75 year olds, this advantage dropped to 2 years.
These added years are no doubt due to improved sanitation and enormous developments in medical science and technology-not to better health since John Hopkins University reports that about half the 65 year olds now take 5 or more medications per day and ~25 % take 10 to 20 medications daily. In addition, almost 70% of US adults are overweight or obese. How can this be a sign of good health? In contrast, there are many short non-developed populations that were found to be almost free of chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. And these populations didn't have the medical care and advantages of Western populations. Okinawans have the highest percentage of centenarians
and are short (males were about 5' and thin during their youth).

Over the last few years, studies have shown that people exposed to famine during gestation actually had lower mortality. For example, compared to adults born after the famine, Dutch adults exposed to famine in the last trimester had a substantially lower mortality around 57 years of age. Adults exposed to famine during gestation during the Great Leap Forward Famine in China (Song) actually had a longer life expectancy than those born after the famine. Adults born during the Great Depression also had the highest jump in life expectancy compared to more prosperous periods of the 20th century (Tapia Granados). Mortality for infants and adults also dropped during the depression.

If tall people live longer, why is that the six top populations in terms of life expectancy are relatively short compared to Scandinavians? The CIA Factbook (2007) indicates that Andorra, Macau, Japan, San Marino, Singapore and Hong Kong
have the longest life expectancies.

I am not aware of any studies that found centenarians to be tall (> 6 feet). In fact, they are usually short and range from 4'10 to 5'7. While most people were relatively short during the last 100+ years, there have always been tall people in the Western world; e.g., Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Jackson. If Floud et al. are right, then there should be a preponderance of tall centenarians. This is not the case.

I think your readers should be given an opportunity to read both sides of this issue and make up their own minds. In 2007, I edited a book with Dr. Bartke and Dr. Rollo: Human Body Size and the Laws of Scaling: Physiological, Performance, Growth, Longevity and Ecological Ramifications, Nova Science Publishers, NY. The book was described by a Professor of Gerontology as "Herculian task accomplished." Another reviewer found the book presented a fair view of both sides of the arguments on height, body size and longevity.

Links to a my March commentary published in World Nutrition (World Public Health Nutrition Association) are given below. You can go to my website for a list of my publications: www.humanbodysize.com

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



Michael Kruse

Thanks so much for the alternative view.

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