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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
  • David Carslake
  • Abigail Fraser
  • George Davey Smith
  • Margaret May
  • Tom Palmer
  • Jonathan Sterne
  • Karri Silventoinen
  • Per Tynelius
  • Debbie A. Lawlor
  • Finn Rasmussen
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Economics and Human Biology
Issue number3
Volume11
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)351-359
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date21/04/12
<mark>Original language</mark>English

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,(1) 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.

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