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Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Jun 1;151(11):1112-20.

Relation of adult height to cause-specific and total mortality: a prospective follow-up study of 31,199 middle-aged men and women in Finland.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.


The purpose of this study was to analyze the association of adult height with cause-specific and total mortality. The study included 31,199 men and women aged 25-64 years who participated in a risk factor survey in 1972, 1977, 1982, or 1987 in eastern Finland. The cohorts were followed until the end of 1994. The relation between height and mortality was assessed by using Cox proportional hazard models. The authors found that height was associated inversely with most of the measured risk factors and directly with socioeconomic status. For both genders, height was inversely associated with cardiovascular and total mortality; the age- and birth-cohort-adjusted risk ratios per 5 cm increase in height were 0.89 and 0.91 for men and 0.86 and 0.90 for women, respectively. The inverse association also remained after adjustment for the other known risk factors. For men, an independent inverse association also was found between height and mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and from violence and accidents. Cancer mortality was not associated with height. Thus, genetic factors, and environmental factors during the fetal period, childhood, and adolescence, which determine adult height, appear to be related to a person's health later in life.

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