Short stature and cardiovascular disease among men and women from two southeastern New England communities

Donna R. Parker, Kate L. Lapane, Thomas M. Lasater, Richard A. Carleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Background. Short stature has been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), although the reason for the association remains unclear. Data on the relation between stature and stroke is more limited. We examined the association between stature and CHD as well as between stature and stroke in men and women from two communities in southeastern New England. Methods. Coronary heart disease and stroke events were abstracted from medical records between January 1980 and December 1991. An epidemiological diagnostic algorithm developed to measure CHD was used in the present analysis. Unadjusted relative risks (RR) and RR adjusted for age, smoking status, obesity, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol < 0.91 mmol/l, total cholesterol > 6.21 mmol/l, hypertension, diabetes, education, and being foreign born were computed by gender-specific height categories separately for men (n = 2826) and women (n = 3741). Results. A graded inverse association between stature and risk of CHD was observed among men which persisted after adjustment for confounders. Men > 69.75 inches had an 83% lower risk of CHD compared with men ≤ 65 inches. In addition, the tallest men had a 67% decreased risk of stroke compared with the shortest men. No significant relation between stature and CHD or stroke was observed among women. Conclusions. These data support the hypothesis that stature is inversely related to both risk of CHD and stroke at least among men. Factors which might explain this association remain to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-975
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary heart disease
  • Relative risk
  • Stature
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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