Does Size Matter?
Body Structure and Longevity
How long will I live? This question often pops into the minds of most people and then we try and take better care of ourselves so that we can live longer and live healthy. As experts have commented the three main features that define longevity are endurance, stamina, and body structure (check out this interesting article for more on body structure).  Endurance or strength is needed to maintain good energy levels; stamina to keep our bodies functioning to the optimum and boosting our immune systems, and structure to keep our body proportional and balanced.
In recent years, researchers have been looking into body shape and how it affects human lifespan and have come up with a number of findings. Read on to find out about how being tall or short, fat or thin can affect your lifespan.
Body Weight versus Longevity
People can be thin, slightly overweight or obese. We had always thought being thin was good but research has proven us wrong. If you are slightly overweight as against being thin or obese, you hold the trump card to long life.
A new study of middle-aged Japanese men done at Tohoku University in Japan has revealed that people who are slightly overweight at around forty years are likely to have an increased longevity of six to seven years when compared to very thin people.  Thus, the study concluded that it was better to be slightly fat rather than being obese, which we all were aware of, or skinny – which is a surprise finding. Does this mean that being thin but eating right is actually wrong for us? There are many scientists and researchers who will disagree with this and point out that moderate obesity can reduce life expectancy by three years . While the debate is on, it is for you to decide how you want to lead your life to the maximum.
Body Height versus Longevity
The correlation between height and longevity is a subject of widespread debate. There are studies that point both ways. According to World Health Organization, the Japanese women have the longest lifespan worldwide,  and yet they are amongst the shortest in the world. Does this mean that the shorter you are the longer you live? Yet, today we are all a few inches taller than our ancestors of the past generations, and our life span too is longer. Then who stands to win? Is it better to be tall or short? Well, in the final analysis, while height variation might affect longevity in some cases, especially if the individual carries the Methuselah gene, which is the short stature long life span gene, there are several interweaving factors that determine the life span of an individual. These factors can be lifestyle, birth weight, childhood care, nutrition, vaccination, income level, access to health care etc.
Till any conclusive evidence is reached, for now we have to be content with where we stand and have a healthy lifestyle, which in turn will optimize our life span. The rest is not in our control.
- How Long Will Your Body Last? : Lifestyle, Issue #13, Author Eric Plasker, DC
- Moderate Obesity Takes Years Off Life Expectancy
- Do short people live longer? By Jessika Toothman