self perceived health and mortality

Doug Skrecky (
Wed, 27 May 1998 17:17:39 -0700 (PDT)

Peck AM. Vagero DH.
Department of Social Medicine, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden.
Adult body height, self perceived health
and mortality in the Swedish population.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 43(4):380-4, 1989 Dec.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to examine adult
body height as an indicator of general
health. DESIGN: The study was a survey of a randomly selected sample of the
adult Swedish population obtained by the Swedish National Central Bureau of
Statistics. PARTICIPANTS: The sample studied was identified in 1980-81 and
comprised 14,757 persons aged 16-74. Of these, 12,695 (86%) consented to
interview. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Information was obtained on adult
height, socioeconomic status in childhood and adult life,
self perceived health, self reported longstanding illness, and
mortality during a six year follow up. The numbers of people
in three height groups who considered their general health
as bad, who reported any longstanding illness or who died during the follow
up were compared with the expected numbers in the same groups. The number of
persons with reduced health and the number of deaths was larger than expected
in the shortest height group. The excess risk of dying in
the shortest group (about 20% higher compared to the tallest group) was
reduced but not eliminated when present and childhood socioeconomic group was
taken into account. Coronary heart disease mortality in
particular was linked to height. The shortest group of men
and women reported the largest proportion with bad general health and
longstanding illness. For the latter the differences between
height groups disappeared after controlling for present
socioeconomic status. CONCLUSIONS: There is a detectable excess risk of
morbidity and mortality from being short. Assuming that the
childhood environment is an important determinant of adult stature it is also
important for adult health.