uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Adult height and the risk of cause-specific death and vascular morbidity in 1 million people: individual participant meta-analysis
Show others and affiliations
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Epidemiology, ISSN 0300-5771, E-ISSN 1464-3685, Vol. 41, no 5, 1419-1433 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


The extent to which adult height, a biomarker of the interplay of genetic endowment and early-life experiences, is related to risk of chronic diseases in adulthood is uncertain.


We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) for height, assessed in increments of 6.5 cm, using individual-participant data on 174 374 deaths or major non-fatal vascular outcomes recorded among 1 085 949 people in 121 prospective studies.


For people born between 1900 and 1960, mean adult height increased 0.5-1 cm with each successive decade of birth. After adjustment for age, sex, smoking and year of birth, HRs per 6.5 cm greater height were 0.97 (95% confidence interval: 0.96-0.99) for death from any cause, 0.94 (0.93-0.96) for death from vascular causes, 1.04 (1.03-1.06) for death from cancer and 0.92 (0.90-0.94) for death from other causes. Height was negatively associated with death from coronary disease, stroke subtypes, heart failure, stomach and oral cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental disorders, liver disease and external causes. In contrast, height was positively associated with death from ruptured aortic aneurysm, pulmonary embolism, melanoma and cancers of the pancreas, endocrine and nervous systems, ovary, breast, prostate, colorectum, blood and lung. HRs per 6.5 cm greater height ranged from 1.26 (1.12-1.42) for risk of melanoma death to 0.84 (0.80-0.89) for risk of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. HRs were not appreciably altered after further adjustment for adiposity, blood pressure, lipids, inflammation biomarkers, diabetes mellitus, alcohol consumption or socio-economic indicators.


Adult height has directionally opposing relationships with risk of death from several different major causes of chronic diseases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 41, no 5, 1419-1433 p.
Keyword [en]
Height, cardiovascular disease, cancer, cause-specific mortality, epidemiological study, meta-analysis
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-185514DOI: 10.1093/ije/dys086ISI: 000309922700028PubMedID: 22825588OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-185514DiVA: diva2:571979

Karl Michaëlsson (Department of Surgical Sciences, Orthopaedics, Uppsala University, Sweden) contributed to this study.

Available from: 2012-11-26 Created: 2012-11-26 Last updated: 2016-01-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Svärdsudd, KurtSundström, Johan
By organisation
Family Medicine and Preventive MedicineCardiovascular epidemiology
In the same journal
International Journal of Epidemiology
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 195 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link