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Short Kids May Have Higher Risk of Strokes

February 16, 2018

According to a recent Danish study, being short as a kid could potentially be associated with an increased risk of having a stroke later in adulthood.

The study examined data on over 300,000 Danish schoolchildren born between the years of 1930 and 1989—the children were examined at ages 7, 10 and 13. Boys and girls who were 2 to 3 inches shorter than their age average were noted to be at an increased risk of clot-related (ischemic) strokes in adult men and women as well as bleeding strokes in men.

While adult height is genetically determined, there are ways in which ones height can be influenced by other factors. This includes maternal diet throughout pregnancy, childhood diet, infection and psychological stress. While several of these are in fact modifiable, they are also all thought to affect the risk of stroke.

Researchers made a note that there is a decline in stroke incidents and morality rates in most high-income countries, primarily in women, which occurred simultaneously with a general increase in achieved adult height. Observed all together, the involvement of shared underlying mechanisms for height and stroke development.

"Our study suggests that short height in children is a possible marker of stroke risk and suggests these children should pay extra attention to changing or treating modifiable risk factors for stroke throughout life to reduce the chances of having this disease," said the senior study author Jennifer L. Baker, Ph.D., associate professor in the Center for Clinical Research and Prevention at Bispebjerg.