On average, taller people score slightly higher on IQ tests than shorter people, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics.
If you tower over your neighbors, those findings may add inches to your ego. But don’t let height go to your head! Studies have linked both tallness and shortness to a variety of health risks and benefits.
Using data collected from twins and their parents—totalling nearly 8000 participants—researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder examined links found between elevated height and IQ.
Their findings suggest that two factors may be at play. First, it appears there are genes that influence both IQ and height, notes Matthew Keller, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, in a statement.
“At the same time, it also looks like people who are taller are slightly more likely to choose mates who are smarter and vice versa,” adds Keller. “Such mate choice causes ‘IQ genes’ and ‘tall genes’ to become statistically associated with one another.”
Average intelligence isn’t the only thing that grows with height. If you are tall, you may also have a greater chance of:
Shortness also comes with its share of health benefits and risks. If you are short, you may have higher odds of:
Height is influenced by many factors, including multiple genetic variants and environmental conditions. In rare cases, extreme tallness or shortness may reflect an underlying health condition that requires medical treatment, such as gigantism or Turner syndrome.
In most cases, however, experts encourage people to focus on health factors within their control, such as not smoking, staying active, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. Whether you’re short or tall—healthy lifestyle choices are your best bet for wellbeing and longevity.
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