A study from the University of Bristol in England shows that men with short legs are at increased risk for heart attacks. Men with short legs have higher blood levels of triglycerides, lower blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks and are more likely to store fat in their bellies, signs of not responding adequately to insulin, that causes late-onset diabetes.

The authors feel that something that happened before a man was born caused both his short legs and his insulin resistance. Women who do not get enough to eat during the first three months of their pregnancies give birth to babies who have short legs and develop late-onset diabetes. Starvation in the uterus causes these people to use their food very efficiently after they’re born, which makes them fatter and increases their risk for diabetes and heart attacks.

Leg length, insulin resistance, and coronary heart disease risk: The Caerphilly Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2001, Vol 55, Iss 12, pp 867-872. GD Smith, R Greenwood, D Gunnell, P Sweetnam, J Yarnell, P Elwood. Smith GD, Univ Bristol, Dept Social Med, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Rd, Bristol BS8 2PR, Avon, ENGLAND

Checked 9/3/12