The shorter you are, the higher your risk could be for developing coronary heart disease, according to a new study coordinated by the University of Leicester.  

Researchers found every 6.35 centimetres of change in height could affect your risk of coronary heart disease by up to 13.5 per cent. They compared a 167cm person to a 152cm person and identified the shorter person had a 32 per cent higher risk of coronary heart disease due to their shorter stature.

According to lead investigator from the British Heart Foundation, Sir Nilesh Samani, Professor of Cardiology and Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, UK, for more than 60 years there has been an inverse relationship between height and risk of coronary heart disease.

“It is not clear whether this relationship is due to confounding factors such as poor socio-economic environment or nutrition during childhood that determines the risk of coronary heart disease, or whether it represents a primary relationship between shorter height and more coronary heart disease.

“Using a genetic approach, researchers from the University of Leicester have shown the association between shorter height and higher risk of coronary heart disease is a primary relationship and not due to confounding factors,” said Professor Sir Samani.

Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of premature death globally and Prof Samani believes with better understanding of the relationship between short people and high risk of coronary heart disease, it can lead to prevention and treatment.

“While our findings do not have any immediate clinical implications, a better understanding of the biological mechanisms that underlie the relationship between short people and coronary heart disease will be a breakthrough for future treatment and prevention.”

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine was supported by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).