Researchers have found that shorter people are at greater risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
The study published in the journal Diabetologia, also found the risk of future type-2 diabetes was 41 per cent lower for men and 33 per cent lower for women, for each 10 centimeters taller in height they were.
According to the researchers, the increased risk in shorter individuals may be due to higher liver fat content and a less favourable profile of cardio-metabolic risk factors.
“Our findings suggest that short people might present with higher cardio-metabolic risk factor levels and have higher diabetes risk compared with tall people,” said study researcher from the German Institute of Human Nutrition, Germany.
For this study, the research team looked at more than 2,500 middle-aged men and women in Germany from a pool of about 26,000 people, after adjusting for age, lifestyle, education and waist circumference.
The study found that the risk of future type 2 diabetes was lower by 41 per cent for men and 33 per cent for women for each 10cm larger height, when adjusted for age, potential lifestyle confounders, education and waist circumference.
The association of height with diabetes risk appeared to be stronger among normal-weight individuals, with an 86 per cent lower risk per 10cm larger height in men, and 67 per cent lower risk per 10cm larger height in women.
In overweight/obese individuals, each 10cm larger height was associated with diabetes risk being 36 per cent lower for men and 30 per cent lower for women.
This may indicate that a higher diabetes risk with larger waist circumference counteracts beneficial effects related to height, irrespective of whether larger waist circumference is due to growth or due to consuming too many calories, according to the researchers.
“Our study also suggests that early interventions to reduce height-related metabolic risk throughout life likely need to focus on determinants of growth in sensitive periods during pregnancy, early childhood, puberty and early adulthood, and should take potential sex-differences into account,” they added.
“We found an inverse association between height and risk of type-2 diabetes among men and women, which was largely related to leg length among men,” the researchers concluded.