Short stature and coronary heart disease: a 35-year follow-up of the Finnish cohorts of The Seven Countries Study

J Intern Med. 2000 Oct;248(4):326-32. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.2000.00747.x.


Objectives: To examine whether short stature is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Design: Follow-up study.

Setting: Two geographically defined areas in eastern and western Finland.

Subjects: A total of 1441 men who were free of coronary heart disease at the start of the follow-up.

Main outcome measures: Hazard ratios for fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease

Results: Height was inversely related to fatal coronary heart disease and incident non-fatal coronary heart disease during the follow-up. These relationships persisted after adjusting for other major cardiovascular risk factors. Comparing the high-risk area in eastern Finland with the low-risk area in south-western Finland, no difference in fatal coronary heart disease and cumulative incidence of non-fatal coronary heart disease was seen in tall men. The increase in risk of coronary heart disease death was 19% for a 10 cm decrease in height (OR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.68-0.95).

Conclusions: Our results show that short stature is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease. Differences in stature partly explain the Finnish east-west difference in the incidence of coronary heart disease.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Height*
  • Cause of Death
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Population Surveillance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects