We’re going to be shorter and fatter and we’re all going to die sooner

Science often confuses me, despite me having a rather solid empirical background. So today I was first alerted to this article in the New Scientist, explaining how women are evolutionary moving towards my model (i.e. shorter and plumper) and the next moment I read in the NY times that this being underheight will make me live shorter.

Ok, well obviously, reproductive success has nothing to do with long lives, that’s why heart diseases and other stuff that emerges after the reproductive age doesn’t get weeded out of the human race and such.

I guess I have been living shorter all my life. I don’t care much that it affects my longevity, at this moment. (Ask me again in 20 years when I will be 60ish).

3 thoughts on “We’re going to be shorter and fatter and we’re all going to die sooner

  1. A “war on shortness” now that’s absolutely silly! Another example of mixing up correlation and causation… Next thing we know, insurance companies are telling us that wearing high heels will extend your lifespan… (I first typed “lifespam” might be more appropriate ;-).

  2. It seems to me that there already is a “war against shortness”. The built human environment is not set up for short people, whether they are short because they are children, or because they are short adults, or because they are people who are functionally short as a result of using a wheelchair. Everything, from kitchen cupboards and toilets to library shelves, chalkboards, and podiums, is premised on the notion that all human beings are at least 5’9″ tall. Short people are at a serious disadvantage in many sports, such that taller people have an advantage that the short ones can never overcome no matter how talented or hardworking they are. (Think of basketball, volleyball, and hockey, to take just a few examples.) Moreover, there is evidence, some of which is cited in the “New York Times” article, that short people are disadvantaged on the basis of their height in terms of salaries, job opportunities, and job advancement. Tall people are accorded more authority than short people. In general, though fatness is an interesting exception, people tend to think that bigger is better. So when a child grows quickly, it is seen as something to boast about, whereas a tiny child is something to be explained and/or excused. It’s interesting that no one has ever proposed a movement for “short liberation”–such a proposal is likely to be laughed out of consideration.

  3. Hmm…. As a short person I have a lot of instinctive sympathy for what Introvertica says. But I’ve also had tall women tell me about the ways they’ve suffered for being taller than women are meant to be. And I’ve known plenty of tall men as well who are permanently stooped– I don’t know if it’s from an effort to converse with the rest of us, or from some sort of embarrassment about size. My suspicion is that there’s a pretty narrow window of acceptable size for height as for so many other appearance-related qualities.

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