Shorter people are more likely to have coronary heart disease, research from the University of Leicester has found.
The study found that for every 2.5 inches change in height, there is a 13.5% change in risk of coronary heart disease.
While the correlation has been previously known, the study of 200,000 people has shown that the link is not due to nutrition or other factors.
One in six men and one in ten men die of coronary heart disease currently, with 73,000 deaths annually as a result of the disease.
At the same time 2.3m people in the UK currently have the disease, 1.4m men and 850,000 women.
The research was led by Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, British Heart Foundation (BHF) professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, and supported by the British Heart Foundation.
Samani, said: "Height has a strong genetic determination and in the last few years a large number of genetic variants have been identified in our DNA that determines one's height.
"The beauty about DNA is that it cannot be modified by one's lifestyle or socio-economic conditions.
"Therefore if shorter height is directly connected with increased risk of coronary heart disease one would expect that these variants would also be associated with coronary heart disease and this is precisely what we found."
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF, said: "This study does not suggest that short people should be unduly worried about their health or that doctors need to focus on the health of shorter patients - it suggests that some of the genes that determine our height may also have an influence on factors that make us more susceptible to heart disease, for example our blood lipids.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the BHF, added: "Further exploration of these genes may suggest new ways to reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease."
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