The Serious Health Risks Tall People Need to Know About

Updated: Oct. 26, 2018

If people tend to look up to you, this is health news you'll want to remember—and discuss with your doctor.

The Serious Health Risk Tall People Need to Know Aboutallstars/ShutterstockThere are a lot of benefits to being tall beyond being able to reach the top shelf without a step ladder. More cash anyone? That’s right; for every two inches above 5’10”, men earn an additional $950 a year, reports LiveScience. On the other hand, there is also a huge drawback; according to a new study out of the University of California Riverside, tall people may be more likely to develop cancer.

Leonard Nunney, PhD, a researcher at UC Riverside, reviewed four large population studies that tracked height and cancer incidence. Nunny identified more than 10,000 total cases of cancer, and when he looked at the odds given a person’s height, he found that cancer risk rose by 10 percent for every four inches above average height a person is—average being 5’4″ for women and 5’9″ for men.

“If you were comparing a 5-foot guy to a basketball player who’s over 7 feet tall, then that basketball player has around twice the risk of cancer across the board,” he told Australia’s ABC. Here are eight more strange ways your height may affect your health.

In the study, which was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Nunney explained that one possible reason tall people have an increased risk of cancer may be due to the simple fact that they have more cells in their bodies; the more cell division you have happening, the greater the chances that cells will mutate and lead to tumor growth.

Nunney found that the correlation between height and cancer risk was consistent with 18 out of the 23 types of cancer he tracked. He also discovered that melanoma skin cancer risk carried an unexpectedly strong relationship with height. And taller women had an increased risk of thyroid cancer, as well.

Arm yourself with knowledge: These are the 12 silent signs of skin cancer people tend to ignore, and here are 6 thyroid cancer symptoms to watch out for.