Height Loss Correlates Well With Other Aspects of Aging

Aging is a global phenomenon throughout the body, and thus we should expect the pace of progression of any one aspect to correlate well with the others. So it is for height loss - meaning that you have the same modest level of control via lifestyle choices such as exercise and calorie restriction as is the case for aging in general:

Using unique data from a new massive longitudinal survey of 17,708 adults beginning at age 45, the researchers show for the first time that lifestyle choices we make in adulthood - and not just the hand we're dealt as children - influence how tall we stand as we age. While prior work has looked for the connection between height and health - both in childhood and adulthood - the researchers are the first to examine height loss as we age. They show that regardless of your maximum height, the loss of height over time is also an important indicator for other health issues as we age.

For example, the research reveals an especially strong relationship between height loss and cognitive health. Those who had lost more height were also much more likely to perform poorly on standard tests of cognitive health such as short-term memory, ability to perform basic arithmetic and awareness of the date. All humans go through physical changes with age, including an increase in body fat and decrease in bone mass. But a decrease in height can be further exacerbated by certain kinds of arthritis, inflammation of spine joints or osteoporosis, which other studies have shown are associated with such lifestyle choices as diet, exercise and smoking.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/uosc-gsa032913.php

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