The Surprising Link Between Height and Risk of Dementia

The Surprising Link Between Height and Risk of Dementia
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How tall you are when you are young could potentially signal how much of dementia risk you face later in your life.

Height doesn’t often seem to be a predictor of health concerns. But, according to a new study, it might predetermine your dementia risk.

According to a study published in eLife, taller men are less at risk for developing dementia.

Researchers found a 10% reduction in dementia risk in men for every 6 centimeters over 5 foot 5 inches.

This study followed many others that explored a similar connection. Previous studies, however, did not take into account genetics, environmental, or other factors.

Researchers studied 666,000 Danish men between 1939 and 1959. Of the 666,000, 10,599 men developed dementia during that time.

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Surprising Link Between Height and Risk of Dementia

Researchers included intelligence and education in this study. These did not become a factor in the findings. Yet, the link between height and dementia became clearer.

This link was clear when looking at brothers of differing heights. There were similar results with twins as well.

Researchers found that taller men in early adulthood had a lower dementia risk later in life. This persists even when adjusting for education and intelligence. 

According to the study, these findings support a relationship between height and dementia. This relationship can’t be explained by shared genetics. Neither can exposures to other factors shared by siblings.

Bottom Line

Although more research is still needed, this study has helped pave the way for future studies of its kind. It has further cemented the link between dementia risk and height in young men.

Researchers feel the key lies within early childhood. Unfortunately, we won’t have any more answers until further studies are conducted.

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Meghan Stoops, RD

Meghan is a Registered Dietitian and freelance content writer in the beautiful New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She takes an all-foods-fit approach to nutrition and is dedicated to freeing others from diet culture and simplifying healthy eating.

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