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  1. There is a really interesting new meta-analysis [1] in this week's issue of The Lancet on the association between height and health/longevity. Here is a popular press article on the study, with the title Big And Tall: Nutritious Meals May Make Us Taller But They Could Also Increase Our Cancer Risk. The researchers looked at 121 epidemiological studies of over a million people that assessed the association of height with health and lifespan. The heart of the paper are these two graphs: showing how in both men and women, being taller reduces risk of coronary heart disease, but increases risk of cancer. Here is a graphical representation of the over/undernutrition-based mechanisms the authors postulate to explain the observations: The link to cancer via higher insulin in people who eat a lot (and hence grow taller) is familiar. What was a bit surprising was their suggestion that increased levels of grow factors like IGF-1 in taller people may actually improve insulin sensitivity and hence reduce diabetes and cardiovascular disease. --Dean ------------- [1] The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Available online 28 January 2016 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(15)00474-X| Divergent associations of height with cardiometabolic disease and cancer: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and global implications Norbert Stefan, MD, Hans-Ulrich Häring, MD, Frank B Hu, MD, Dr Matthias B Schulze, DrPHcorrespondenceemail Full text: http://dx.doi.org.sci-hub.io/10.1016/S2213-8587(15)00474-X Summary Among chronic non-communicable diseases, cardiometabolic diseases and cancer are the most important causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although high BMI and waist circumference, as estimates of total and abdominal fat mass, are now accepted as predictors of the increasing incidence of these diseases, adult height, which also predicts mortality, has been neglected. Interestingly, increasing evidence suggests that height is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk, but higher cancer risk, associations supported by mendelian randomisation studies. Understanding the complex epidemiology, biology, and pathophysiology related to height, and its association with cardiometabolic diseases and cancer, is becoming even more important because average adult height has increased substantially in many countries during recent generations. Among the mechanisms driving the increase in height and linking height with cardiometabolic diseases and cancer are insulin and insulin-like growth factor signalling pathways. These pathways are thought to be activated by overnutrition, especially increased intake of milk, dairy products, and other animal proteins during different stages of child development. Limiting overnutrition during pregnancy, early childhood, and puberty would avoid not only obesity, but also accelerated growth in children—and thus might reduce risk of cancer in adulthood.
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