Short stature and risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease: negative findings from the NHANES I epidemiologic follow-up study

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1996 Mar 1;27(3):678-82. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(95)00512-9.


Objectives: This study sought to examine the relation between body height and incidence of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, overall mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease.

Background: An association between short stature and increased risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease has been observed in several studies, attracting considerable attention.

Methods: We used data from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study, a prospective study of a large random sample of the U.S. population, to examine the association between height and risk of four end points.

Results: Baseline data were collected from 1971 to 1975 for 13,031 respondents (5,296 men, 7,735 women), and the average follow-up period was 13 years, through 1987. Height was inversely associated with risk of all four of the end points studied in both men and women. However, after adjustment for age and years of education in Cox proportional hazards analyses, the relation no longer existed. Using the same adjustment procedures, persons in the lowest height quintile had no increase in risk compared with those in the highest category. The findings were consistent for men and women, blacks and whites and different age groups.

Conclusions: Data from this study in a national sample do not support the hypothesis of an inverse height-heart disease relation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Height*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data