Stature and the risk of myocardial infarction in women

Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Jul;132(1):27-32. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a115639.


An inverse association between height and coronary heart disease has been observed in several prospective studies of men, but the reasons for the association have not been established. The relation of stature to the risk of first nonfatal myocardial infarction in women was evaluated in data from a hospital-based case-control study of women under 65 years of age carried out in 1985-1988; 910 cases were compared with 1,140 controls. The risks of myocardial infarction for tall and short women relative to women of average height (63-64 inches (160-163 cm] were estimated, with control for body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), years of education, religion, and the major known risk factors. There was a significant inverse relation of height to myocardial infarction risk (p = 0.003). The relative risk estimate for women greater than or equal to 69 inches (175 cm) tall was 0.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.2-0.8); for women less than or equal to 59 inches (less than or equal to 150 cm) tall, it was 1.5 (95% CI 0.9-2.6). The results were consistent within strata of age, body mass index, educational status, and religion, and they suggest that among women, as among men, those of tall stature have a lower risk of myocardial infarction than shorter individuals. Factors which might explain the association, such as early nutrition, genetic endowment, and artery size, could not be directly evaluated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • New England
  • Religion
  • Risk Factors