Shorter people are more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), say British researchers who looked at more than one million people over age 35.
The study found that COPD patients were 1.12cm shorter on average than those without the lung disease, BBC News reported.
This shorter stature may be a "marker" that these patients come from a poorer background, said the University of Nottingham researchers. Historical studies have shown a strong association between adult height and COPD risk.
Nutrition a factor
People who grew up in poor families may be more likely to have had poor nutrition during their early years, which has a negative effect on lung development and general growth, the researchers said, BBC News reported.
In addition, people from poorer backgrounds may be more likely to have had mothers who smoked and are more likely to live in smoking households and to smoke themselves. Smoking is a major cause of COPD.
The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.