Your height may just play a part in how you die.
In February, Britain’s tallest man and Game of Thrones star Neil Fingleton, who stood at seven foot seven, died at the age of just 36.
Andre the Giant, seven foot four wrestler and actor, died at the age of 46. Big Fish actor Matthew McGrory died aged 32, at seven foot six. Eight foot eleven Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in the world, died at age 22. And eight-foot-two Zeng Jinlian, the tallest woman ever, died at age 17.
Why? The one thing they all had in common, besides being abnormally tall, was heart failure.
The puberty-invoking pituitary gland is what causes us to grow, but too much of it can cause gigantism.
A study in the Postgraduate Medical Journal of the British Medical Journal suggests that too much of this hormone can make the heart’s walls thicker, while keeping blood-pumping chambers the same size – and that’s what causes heart failure, along with other heart conditions such as diabetes.
If you’re taller than average but not NBA shooting guard height, don’t worry. Being tall on it’s own isn’t enough to cause premature death – but it could lead to a shorter life span than those under 5’9″.
According to Men’s Health, a 1992 study of nearly 1,700 dead guys found that, on average, men shorter than 5’9″ hung around until the age of 71. Men taller than 6’4″ tended to die much earlier – at 64.
Then there are the world’s oldest people. On average, most centenarians are shorter than 5’5″.
In Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan, residents have historically had the longest life span on earth – age 84 for men and 90 for women. Along with a 40 per cent lower risk of cancer and heart disease, many of the world’s centenarians also live here. The average height? 5 feet.
However, while height may well play a part in how long you live, it’s not the only – or most telling – factor. The biggest risk for an early exit is your weight.
Keep your body in check and you’ll be fine. Hopefully.