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BBC Future combed through the evidence to size up its impact on everything from your sexual allure to your bank and your lifespan.

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Money and power At 6ft 4in cmAbraham Lincoln would tower above Barack Obama — but even he is around 3in 8cm taller than the average American. Confirming the correlation, a recent study found that taller candidates do indeed tend to receive more votes. Beyond the race to the White House, taller men and women are considered to be more dominant, healthy, and intelligentand are more likely to be chosen for more competitive jobs; they also earn more money.

But height also reflects nutrition as — so perhaps it simply acts as a more general indicator of your upbringing, which may in turn influence your education and success later in life. Not all high achievers are giants among men, of course Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King exuded charisma despite being on the short side.

But on the basis of first impressions alone, taller people may have the edge. Taller men may be a disappointment in bed and not just because they hog all the sheets Credit: Getty Images. Sexual attraction Towering, statuesque men do tend to have more allure. Study after study has found that taller men and women are generally considered more attractive. But although they may be prized as supermodels, tall women do not seem to enjoy the same advantages in the dating game, however — an average height generally seems to be preferred. Even for men, a lanky body could be mixed blessing, if it means people also pay greater attention to your other endowments.

Curiously, the taller the man, the more important his penis size seemed to be in determining his overall attractiveness. Bigger bodies may have more raw strength, but they are also less nimble Credit: Getty Images. Sport and athletics You only need to look at a basketball court or the race track to realise that longer legs are an advantage across many events.

Longer limbs can cover the ground faster, and they can reach further. Yet sometimes a smaller body can be a bonus. It takes less time for a nerve impulse to travel the lengths of their limbs to their brains, meaning that their reaction times should be quicker, and they may be more nimble — which might help certain martial artists like Jackie Chan. Are bigger bodies more prone to clumsiness and mishaps?

Credit: Getty Images. Clumsiness Think of your body a bit like a car: in purely mechanical terms, the larger it is, the harder it is to slow down if you need to avoid a collision. And of course, shorter people have less distance to fall. You need only watch the comedian Miranda Hart to see this principle in action.

Perhaps this can explain why taller people are much more likely to suffer from injuries across their lifetime; women taller than 5ft 8in are twice as likely to fracture their hip as women who are just 5ft 2in. Is being tall a health hazard? Every centimetre in height may knock 0.

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Lifespan and health Villagrande Strisaili in Sardinia is known to have the highest proportion of centenarians in the whole of Europe. While many factors may contribute including the Mediterranean diet and a lively social life — one possible reason may be that the people are a little on the short side, with an average male height of around cm or 5ft 3in for the oldest generation. Since healthier children tend to grow taller, you might expect height to be a good indicator of overall fitness. When other factors such as diet and healthcare have been taken intohowever, taller people seem to suffer as they get older.

For instance, the bigger you are, the more cells you have in your body, increasing the risk of mutations developing that could cause cancer. A larger body may also have to burn more energy, increasing the build-up of toxic by-products that could contribute to general wear and tear.

The could knock years off your life ; among those long-lived citizens of Sardinia, the tallest people lived for about two years less than their shorter neighbours. Another study, of 1. Do taller people have an easier ride through life? Happiness Despite these slight risks to your health, there is a silver lining to being tall: various studies have found that the greater your height, the higher you score on measures of happiness and enjoyment of life. This probably returns to the fact that your height can influence your career prospects and helps you to earn more money, meaning that taller people may have a slightly easier ride through life.

All of these factors are mere correlations, of course. There are plenty of exceptions that break all the rules. In Depth Human. Tall vs short: Which is it better to be? Share using. By David Robson 29th September Is bigger better, or do the best things really come in small packages?

Tweet this article. Verdict: A clear score draw. It really depends on the sport. Verdict: Smaller people are less accident-prone than taller people.

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Verdict: A shorter body means a longer lifespan. Verdict: The taller you are, the happier you are. Around the BBC.

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Height discrimination