Being tall has its advantages and according to new research, it could help women live longer. A large study from the Netherlands finds that women may be more likely to live to be 90 years old if they’re taller.
Scientists looked at the link between height, body mass index and exercise in close to 8,000 participants who were between 55 and 69 when the study began in 1986. They were all monitored until they turned 90 or they died, whichever came first. There were 433 men and 944 women who made it to the big 9-0 and the women who reached this age were taller, weighed less at the beginning of the study and had put on less weight than their counterparts who died sooner. The women who were over five feet nine inches were 31% more likely to live to be 90 than women who were five feet three or shorter.
So why are the taller ladies living longer than the shorties? Lead study author Lloyd Brandts says they can only speculate why height would be associated with reaching old age in women, but they think it “might be related to shrinkage, which is more common among women.”
And while taller women seem to have an edge when it comes to ageing, the study didn’t find the same to be true for men. For the fellas, physical activity levels seem to be more important, with those who exercise more than 90 minutes a day being around 39% more likely to live to 90 than those who workout less than 30 minutes. Women who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day were 21% more likely to live to 90 than those who did less than 30 minutes.