Adult height inversely associated with healthy ageing
Taller adults are less likely to experience healthy ageing, according to a recent study. However, the association between height and ageing can be modified by a prudent diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Researchers included 52,135 women (mean age 44.2 years) from the Nurses’ Health Study without chronic diseases in 1980 and whose health status was available in 2012 to examine the associations of adult height with healthy ageing measured by a full spectrum of health outcomes, such as incidence of chronic diseases, memory, physical functioning and mental health.
Healthy ageing referred to being free of 11 major chronic diseases and having no reported impairment of subjective memory, physical impairment or mental health limitations. Of the participants, 6,877 (13.2 percent) were classified as healthy agers.
There was an 8-percent (95 percent CI, 6 to 11 percent) reduction in the likelihood of healthy ageing per SD (0.062 m) increase in height after adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors. The odds ratio of achieving healthy ageing in the highest category (≥1.70 m) was 0.80 (0.73 to 0.87; p<0.001) compared with the lowest category of height (≤1.57 m).
Furthermore, a significant relation existed between height and a prudent dietary pattern with regard to healthy ageing (p=0.005). Among the individual dietary factors distinguishing such diet, fruit and vegetable consumption showed the strongest effect modification (p=0.01).
“The association of greater height with reduced odds of healthy ageing appeared to be more evident among women with higher adherence to the prudent dietary pattern rich in vegetable and fruit intake,” researchers said.
“Adult height has shown directionally diverse associations with several age-related disorders, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, decline in cognitive function and mortality,” they added.