Do tall people die faster?

Initially, this idea might seem a bit confusing and hard to believe. But thanks to science, we can get to the depth of it. According to some scientists, your height can be a deciding factor in the way you eventually die.

Taller people are a lot likely to die from cancers, while shorter people are much more likely to die from a heart attack. Researchers collected 130 studies that were done on 1.1 million people. These studies also listed their reason for death and their height.

The claim that taller height causes cancer was also backed by this study. It claims that each extra 4 inches in height elevate the risk of cancer by 13 percent in post-menopausal women.

But does that mean tall people die faster? Let’s find out.

Childhood Decides Height

With the passage of time, the average heights of people all around the world have increased. In America, every this increase in height is 0.27 inches every 5 years. The average height of the men who were used for height-related studies was 5’8, while women averaged around 5’3. The reason height is often linked to different causes of death is because your height can be a good indicator of the health conditions you faced when you were young.

However, how tall a person is able to grow does not mean that they have achieved the maximum height they could. According to doctors and scientists, every person is born with a “potential height” that they can reach if they stay healthy.

Not everyone is able to reach their potential height since malnutrition and medical conditions can often slow down the process. This is also why developed countries tend to have a taller average height while developing countries still have shorter people.

It is also worth noting that even though it is possible to not reach your potential height and stay “short” according to societal standards – exceeding your potential height isn’t possible according to scientists.

There are a few factors that your height depends on.


A person’s genetics are the main factor in deciding their height. According to scientists, there are almost 700 genes that decide how tall you will be. Some genes affect your growth plates while others can increase or decrease your body’s ability to produce growth hormones.

Usually, every ethnicity has a specific height range that they can reach and this factor also depends on a person’s genetics. Conditions like Down’s Syndrome can also slow down the process of height increase.


The human body has different hormones that can tell the growth plates in our body to make a new bone. Some of these hormones are:

1.      Growth Hormones

The growth hormone in every person’s body is the most essential hormone for growth. Some conditions can stop your body from producing growth hormones which can ultimately impact your height. Some children have a rare disease called congenital hormone deficiency. Kids with this disease grow a lot slower.

2.      Sex Hormones

Estrogen and Testosterone are essential for our bodies during the puberty phase.

3.      Thyroid Hormones

Every person’s body has a thyroid gland that makes essential hormones that can impact the growth of their body.


It is quite obvious that males are usually taller than females. This is also because males continue to grow tall for a longer period of time. Regardless of sex, our heights slow down when we go through puberty. Since girls go through puberty earlier, they also stop growing at an earlier stage.

The Impact of Height on Mortality

Studies have shown that taller people are leaner more often. This is mostly because their bodies need a lot of nutrients to get obese and many people aren’t able to consume that amount on the regular. Taller people also tend to exercise more frequently and are also less likely to develop the habit of smoking.

Because of this reason, taller people have improved cholesterol levels and normal blood pressure. This is essentially why shorter people die because of heart attacks much more often than taller people. However, since taller people have bigger organs, there’s a higher chance of them developing cancer in their organs.

A bigger body means more cells, and more cells mean a higher chance of developing a cancerous cell. However, this does not mean tall people die faster. Even though these patterns have been noticed in general populations  – these situations can’t be applied to every individual who is tall or short according to a society’s standard.

Just because tall people have a higher risk of developing cancer does not mean your doctor will tell you to stop growing. While there is no conclusive answer to whether tall people can die faster – it does however come down to the lethality of a disease a certain group faces more.

Try to focus on staying healthy for as long as you can – your height will hopefully just be a number.


I am a doctor and working as a research based Medical Writer and Editor for more than 8 years. Passion for writing and an excellent medical background are my strong points. I love to combine my two passions into a profession wherein I can write professional articles in the field of medicine, health, and nutrition.​