Cancer mortality is higher among taller men in two cohorts of US Army officers

Ulrich Mueller, University of Marburg
Allan Mazur, Syracuse University
Afiafi Marie Renee Afanou, University of Marburg

In all societies, healthy, well fed children are taller. Taller adults are known to have lower morbidity and mortality, except from cancer. Relevant factors - genetics, nutrition in childhood, upward social mobility for tall people in many settings, fewer health hazards, better medical care for high status people - are intercorrelated. Here we study all graduates of 1925 and 1950 of US Military Academy at West Point, retired not disabled after 20+ years in service. Subjects were rigorously selected for health as young adults, subjected to a healthy lifestyle regime for decades, medically well taken care of ever since: in both samples, the taller half had an excess mortality, leading to four more years lifespan for the shorter half. Mortality excess is cancer associated in the younger and perhaps in the older cohort . Tallness may be a mortality risk, masked by the advantages of high social status in childhood.

Presented in Poster Session 1