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Associations of mortality with own height using son's height as an instrumental variable

Author

Listed:
  • Carslake, David
  • Fraser, Abigail
  • Davey Smith, George
  • May, Margaret
  • Palmer, Tom
  • Sterne, Jonathan
  • Silventoinen, Karri
  • Tynelius, Per
  • Lawlor, Debbie A.
  • Rasmussen, Finn

Abstract

Height is associated with mortality from many diseases, but it remains unclear whether the association is causal or due to confounding by social factors, genetic pleiotropy,11Pleiotropy is the influence of one gene on multiple phenotypic traits. or existing ill-health. The authors investigated whether the association of height with mortality is causal by using a son's height as an instrumental variable (IV) for parents’ height among the parents of a cohort of 1,036,963 Swedish men born between 1951 and 1980 who had their height measured at military conscription, aged around 18, between 1969 and 2001. In a two-sample IV analysis adjusting for son's age at examination and secular trends in height, as well as parental age, and socioeconomic position, the hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause paternal mortality per standard deviation (SD, 6.49cm) of height was 0.96 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.95, 0.96). The results of IV analyses of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), respiratory disease, cancer, external causes and suicide were comparable to those obtained using son's height as a simple proxy for own height and to conventional analyses of own height in the present data and elsewhere, suggesting that such conventional analyses are not substantially confounded by existing ill-health.

Suggested Citation

  • Carslake, David & Fraser, Abigail & Davey Smith, George & May, Margaret & Palmer, Tom & Sterne, Jonathan & Silventoinen, Karri & Tynelius, Per & Lawlor, Debbie A. & Rasmussen, Finn, 2013. "Associations of mortality with own height using son's height as an instrumental variable," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 351-359.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:11:y:2013:i:3:p:351-359
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2012.04.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Murray, John E., 1997. "Standards of the Present for People of the Past: Height, Weight, and Mortality among Men of Amherst College, 1834–1949," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 585-606, September.
    2. Koch, Daniel, 2011. "Waaler revisited: The anthropometrics of mortality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 106-117, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Taylor, Amy E. & Davies, Neil M. & Ware, Jennifer J. & VanderWeele, Tyler & Smith, George Davey & Munafò, Marcus R., 2014. "Mendelian randomization in health research: Using appropriate genetic variants and avoiding biased estimates," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 99-106.

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