For the past 30 years, Thomas T. Samaras and his associates Dr. Elrick and Dr. Storms have
published papers in scientific and medical journals on the positive aspects of
shorter height and smaller body size. Mr. Samaras is the Director and Senior Researcher at Reventropy Associates in San Diego, California. These have included papers in the Bulletin of the
World Health Organization, Journal of the National Medical Association, Life
Sciences, Western Journal of Medicine, Journal of the Washington Academy of
Sciences, Acta Pediatrica and Ageing Research Reviews. Thomas Samaras' most recent book is:
Human Body Size and the Laws of Scaling:
Physiological, Performance, Growth, Longevity and Ecological Ramifications
Hardcover - 381 pages
(1 January 2007)
This page presents a summary of their findings.
- Physical advantages of shorter height
Shorter people of the same proportions as taller people have many physical
advantages based on the laws of physics, and these advantages are supported by
many researchers. Shorter people have faster reaction times, greater ability to
accelerate body movements, stronger muscles in proportion to body weight,
greater endurance, and the ability to rotate the body faster. They are also less
likely to break bones in falling. As a consequence of these physical attributes,
shorter people can excel as gymnasts, divers, skiers, martial artists, rock
climbers, figure skaters, rodeo riders, soccer players and long distance
runners. Within their weight classes they are excellent wrestlers, boxers, and
Shorter people are also less likely to require surgery for herniated spinal
disks. In addition, shorter people are less likely to break a hip from falling.
Another advantage of smaller people is that they are less likely to die in
auto crashes. One study found that people weighing less than 132 pounds had the
lowest risk of dying or suffering serious injuries compared to bigger people.
Although height data weren't provided, it is known that height and weight
tend to be correlated. Thus, lighter weight people are more likely to be shorter
than heavier people. No adjustments for air bag deployment were made, although
other studies have found them to negatively affect short people.
- Increased longevity of shorter, smaller people
An early paper illustrating the greater longevity of shorter people appeared
in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization in 1992. Since then we have
presented substantial findings showing that shorter, smaller people live
longer. The reason for this is that bigger bodies have more cells and these cells
are subject to replacement due to wear or damage. Hayflick pointed out
many years ago that most human body cells have limited capacity for
duplication. Since bigger people require a larger number of duplications to reach
maturity, they have fewer potential cell doublings left to replace defective or dead
cells. Thus, the functional capability of vital organs declines with advanced
age because damaged cells can't be replaced. A new study also showed that
oxidative damage to cells increases at a higher rate with increasing height;
e.g., an 18% increase in height leads to an 83% increase in cellular damage.
Current gerontological thinking is that oxidative damage leads to aging and death.
A few years ago, a comprehensive study of about 300 height and cancer papers,
concluded that taller people had a 20 to 60% higher incidence of cancer
compared to shorter people. More recently, breast, testicular, and prostate cancer
studies found taller women and men suffered from substantially higher cancer
Short people are not immune to death from heart disease, cancer, and other
causes. Failure to control diet, physical inactivity, overweight, depression, and
anger can lead to serious health problems. Therefore, poor health and mental
practices can lead to reduced longevity for people of any height.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease of shorter people
In 2004, we published a paper in the Medical Science Monitor. The paper reviewed published data showing that shorter people have
lower cardiovascular disease. Data
from Europe, California, Native American tribes, Japan, Okinawa, Papua New
Guinea, Pakistan, and India show large increases in coronary heart disease with
increasing height. Our report was based on millions of deaths as well as both
heterogeneous and homogeneous population samples.
Earlier studies by other researchers found shorter people have more
cardiovascular disease than taller people or that there is little difference between
tall and short people. A recent large study in Korea found no significant
relation between height and heart disease. In recent years, researchers have also
reported that increased risk of heart disease in short people may be due to
higher levels of cholesterol and body weight.
Many studies from traditional societies have found very little to no
cardiovascular disease among these populations which are almost always quite short and
light. We believe Western studies that conflict with ours are corrupted by
several factors: accelerated growth of small babies, being overweight during childhood
and adulthood, lower socioeconomic levels, and bad diets. Many studies that
conflict with our findings are based on small population samples involving a
small number of deaths. In addition, low birth weight children that experience
accelerated growth have increased risk of adult coronary heart disease and
diabetes. Thus, the practice of promoting catch-up growth or overfeeding of low
birth weight children can increase adult mortality of some shorter people.
Another potential problem is that most researchers compare leaner tall people to
shorter, stockier people, which can favor taller people and provide misleading
- Reduced negative impact on the environment, water needs, and resource
A population of 6 billion people averaging 6' and 190 pounds can impact human
survival by creating more pollution and depletion of resources, such as
water, energy, minerals, farm land, and oil. The reason for this is that a 6'
person weighing 190 pounds is 73% heavier and has 44% more surface area than a 5'
person weighing 110 pounds. (The weight difference is based on tall and short
people having the same proportions.)
If the future US population increased by 20%, we would need
additional 1.5 billion
tons of minerals, plastics, and metals; 86 trillion additional gallons of
fresh water; 180 million additional acres of farm land; and 80 million added tons
of garbage. We would also produce 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide
which is involved in global heating. And virtually everything else we use in
modern society would increase since things are usually scaled to average human
See also the related Blogs: Ramifications of increasing body size and Why smaller humans are in our future.
For additional information, please contact Tom Samaras at SamarasTT@aol.com
Samaras TT. A new study of Sardinian men finds height is a factor in longevity. May 2012
Samaras TT. Commentary. Human growth, height, size. Reasons to be small. World Public Health Nutrition Association, Volume 2, Number 3, March 2011
Samaras TT. Ramifications of increasing birth weight, accelerated growth and greater height on health, the obesity epidemic, and longevity. Journal of Chinese Clinical Medicine, Volume 5, Number 8, August 2010
Samaras TT. Role of height in cancer and cardiovascular disease. Journal of Chinese Clinical Medicine, Volume 5, Number 2, February 2010
Samaras TT. Are 20th-century recommendations
for growth and height correct? A review. S. Afr J Clin Nutr, 2009;22(4):171-176
Samaras TT. We are too tall. Public Health Nutrition. March 2009, 12: 439-440.
- Samaras TT, Should we be concerned over increasing body height and weight? Experimental Gerontology, Volume 44, January/February 2009, 05310-5565
Samaras TT, Desnoes J. Increasing human body size and its
physical and environmental ramifications. Townsend Letters,
Feb/Mar 2008, pp 100-122
Samaras TT. Longevity in specific populations. In: Kris Haggenhougen
and Stella Quah, editors: International Encyclopedia of Public Health.
Vol 4, San Diego: Academic Press: 2008, pp. 142-147.
- Samaras TT, Elrick H, Storms LH. Is short height really a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke mortality? a review. Medical Science Monitor 2004; 10: RA63-76.
- Samaras TT, Elrick H., Storms LH. Is height related to longevity? Life Sciences 2003; 72: 1781-1802.
- Samaras TT, Elrick H, Storms LH. Birthweight, rapid growth, cancer, and longevity: a review. Journal of the National Medical Association 2003; 95: 1170-1183.
- Elrick H, Samaras TT, Demas A. Missing links in the obesity epidemic. Nutrition Research 2002; 22:1101-1123.
- Samaras TT, Elrick H,Storms LH. Height, health and growth hormone. Acta Paediatrica 1999; 88: 602-9.
- Samaras TT, Storms LH. Secular growth and its harmful ramifications. Medical Hypotheses 2002; 58: 93-112.
- Samaras TT, Elrick H. Height, body size, and longevity: is smaller better for the human body? Western Journal of Medicine 2002; 176: 206-208.
- Samaras TT and Elrick H. Less is better. Journal of the National Medical Association 2002; 94: 88-99.
- Samaras TT, Storms LH, Elrick H. Longevity, mortality and body weight. Ageing Research Reviews 2002; 1: 673-691.
- Samaras TT and Elrick H. Height, body size and longevity. Acta Medica Okayama 1999; 53: 149-169.
- Samaras TT, Elrick H, and Storms LH. Is attainment of greater height and body size really desirable? (Guest Editorial) Journal of the National Medical Association 1999; 91: 317-321.
- Samaras TT. Bigger people are becoming a growing problem. Earth Island Journal 1997; 13: 22.
- Samaras TT. Why the future belongs to smaller sized humans. In FutureVision: ideas, insights, and strategies, Didsbury HF (ed). World Future Society, Bethesda, Maryland, 1996, pp 245-257.
- Samaras TT. How body height and weight affect our performance, longevity and survival. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1996; 84: 131-156.
- Samaras TT and Heigh G H. How human size affects longevity and mortality from degenerative diseases. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients. Oct 1996. 159: 78-85, 133-139.
- Samaras TT. The Truth About Your Height. Exploring the myths and realities of human size and its effects on performance, health, pollution, and survival. 1994. Book available from Amazon.com.
- Samaras TT. Lets get small. Harper's. 1995. 289: 32-34
- Samaras TT, Storms LH. Impact of height and weight on life span. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 1992; 70: 259-267.
- Samaras TT. Short People. Science Digest 1978; 84: 76-78.
- Samaras TT. The stature factor--how important is human size in the energy, pollution and economic picture? Electric Perspectives (Edison Electric Co) 1978/6 9-16.
- Samaras TT. The law of entropy and the aging process. Human Development 1974; 17: 314-320.