Short Stature Linked to Cardiac Risk

July 13th, 2010 | Sources: European Heart Journal, Wall Street Journal


Short stature is associated with a 50% greater risk of coronary heart disease, according to Tuula Paajanen and colleagues, who reported their findings in the European Heart Journal.

miniregistryTo reach these conclusions, the scientists performed a meta-analysis on 52 relevant articles on the subject, which were found during a systematic search of MEDLINE, PREMEDLINE and All EBM reviews. Together, the studies included a bit more than 3 million individuals.

For the purposes of their study, the scientists defined “short” as being below 5’5″ in males and below 5’0″ in females. They defined “tall” as being above 5’10” in men and above 5’6″ in women.

Analysis of the combined studies revealed that individuals in the shortest cohort had a 46% greater likelihood of sustaining a cardiovascular event than those in the tallest cohort.

The scientists concluded that since short children tend to become short adults, their findings might help physicians select shorter kids and teens for early intervention programs designed to reduce cardiovascular risk. 

The study is believed to be the first to confirm the association, which had been debated for at least 50 years. It must be remembered that this study has shown a correlation, but does not prove that short stature actually causes cardiovascular disease. Randomized controlled trials would be required to prove causality, but of course they are impractical in the current instance.


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