Scientists discovered that every
2.5in difference in height changes your chances of getting the condition – which is the UK’s single biggest killer – by 13.5%.
It means a 5ft person has a 27% higher risk than someone who is 5ft 5in.
Meanwhile, someone at 6ft has a 54% greater risk than a 6ft 10in person.
Lead researcher Prof Sir Nilesh Samani said it shows “the association between shorter height and higher risk of coronary heart disease is a primary relationship”.
Previously, experts knew there was a link but were unsure if it was determined by other factors, such as nutrition or socio-economic environment in childhood.
It is now thought the University of Leicester’s study, in the New England Journal of Medicine, could help prevention.
Prof Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the study, said it could lead to “new ways to reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease”.
Experts also stressed while height could not be controlled, other contributory factors – such as lifestyle – could.
Prof Peter Weissberg, also of the BHF, said shorter people should not be “unduly worried about their health”.
He added: “Everyone, regardless of their height, should do everything in their power to reduce their risk of future heart disease by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and not smoking.”