By Phil Vinter
PUBLISHED: 21:31 EST, 1 May 2012 | UPDATED: 04:46 EST, 2 May 2012
Being taller may be useful for changing a lightbulb or seeing over a crowd, but when it comes to living longer shorter men measure up best.
A study on the island of Sardinia has found that on average shorter men live for two years longer than their taller counterparts.
The research which involved tracking 500 males born between 1866 and 1915 on the small Italian island backs up the findings of 12 previous studies.
Size matters: A new study of 500 men on the island of Sardinia found that shorter men live on average two years longer than shorter men
Sardinians are statistically known to live longer than people in the rest of Europe.
The study led by professor Poulain from Belgium and Dr Salaris from the University of Cagliari in Italy also found that men live as long as women in the municipality of Villagrande which boast the shortest population of the island’s 14 municipalities.
Scientists have previously observed that within a species, the smaller individual tends to live longer than the bigger one.
This is illustrated by smaller dogs who live longer than medium and large size dogs.
Smaller mice, rats, ponies and monkeys generally live longer as well. The smaller Asian elephant also lives longer than the larger African elephant.
Tall order: The study suggests that shorter men like Ronnie Corbett are more likely to live longer than taller people like Stephen Fry
The study also offered a number of other explanations for why smaller bodies tend to keep going for longer.
These include lower DNA damage, greater cell replacement potential, higher heart pumping efficiency, decreased C-reactive protein and higher sex hormone binding globulin.
The scientists concluded that height makes up 10 per cent of a person’s longevity profile and that regardless of height, anyone can extend his or her longevity by having a good nutritional diet, low body weight, exercise, good medical care, a positive and happy spirit, and good social relations.
Therefore, tall people still have the potential to reach 100 years under the right conditions.