Short men are more likely to die from dementia than taller men, scientists have found, in the first ever study to link height with mental decline in old age.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that men who were 5ft 5 inches or shorter were 50 per cent more likely to develop, and die from dementia, that those who were 5ft 8 inches or taller.
The academics think that height is an important indicator of developmental difficulties in childhood, such as stress, illness and poor nutrition.
They warn that lifelong damage can take place while the body is growing which may not be apparent until much later in life and suggest that breakfast clubs, vaccination programmes and improved parenting schemes could help tackle the growing dementia timebomb.
Lead author, Dr Tom Russ, of the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, said: “This just shows the importance of intervening early to make sure children have proper nutrition and are not at risk.