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Shorter Height Genetically Associated With Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of premature death across the world. A recent study suggests that shorter height is genetically linked with a higher risk of death from coronary heart disease.

In order to determine the connection between height and coronary heart disease, the researchers examined data from almost 200,000 people with or without coronary heart disease. They looked at 180 genetic variants that affect height that are also associated with coronary heart disease and found that for every 6.5 cm (approximately 2.5 inches) change in height caused by those genetic variants, the risk of coronary heart disease increased by an average of 13.5%.

The researchers controlled for other risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes and found that the association between the genes that control height and those that determine coronary heart disease was still present. The only slight association they found outside of height was between cholesterol and fat levels and coronary heart disease risk but that accounted for less than one third of the relationship between shorter height and coronary heart disease risk.

Researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK conducted the study. It was published online ahead of parting on April 8, 2015, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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