At Least Short Women Aren't As Likely to Get Cancer?

Tall women are more at risk for all types of cancer, according to a new study. Speaking as a woman who stands 5'2'' on a good day pretty sure a doctor humored me this one time four years ago by marking that on my chart, I say: SCORE! Just kidding. Cancer isn't a joke, it's not a competition, and if it was a competition, short people would still be losing on multiple counts. Here's a roundup of all the conflicting and often dubious information we've heard about short women vs. tall women over the past few years.

Tall post-menopausal women are more likely to get cancer, according to new, large study of American women — each 4 inch increase in height is associated with a 13 percent increase in overall cancer risk. That's not good. BUT, on the brighter side, tall women also:

  • make more money: "For every three inches taller than average they are, women earn 5 to 8 percent more money than women of average height."
  • appear more intelligent, assertive, independent, ambitious, richer and more successful. Woof! That's a lot of compliments.
  • are just better, overall. From the New York Times ("tall" is included in "better looking," of course):

In a new paper, Daniel S. Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas and the author of “Beauty Pays,” argues that just being better looking than others in a given competitive situation does not give much of an advantage. What matters, he said, is how much better looking an individual is than others in a competition. In other words, the more extreme the difference between the best and the worst looking, the more the “best” will have an advantage.

  • have evolved to have more babies, at least in two Gambian villages.
  • are more likely to have twins either a plus or a minus, depending on how you feel re: The Parent Trap.


The only "positive" study I could find re: short women is that "male volunteers judged small women to be more nurturing and likely to be better mothers" in the UK. Uh, thanks? The Independent's write-up includes this wonderful Q&A: "Why are tall women considered superior to shorter women? Because if you're tall like Uma Thurman, other women think you're more intelligent, assertive and independent, and if you're as short as Kylie Minogue, you're merely considerate and nurturing."

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"Merely." Got it!

Image via Getty.