Study shows uneducated people age faster
People with higher levels of education age slower than their less-educated peers, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the University College London divided 450 participants into four groups based on how long they stayed in school.
They found that people who left school earlier had shorter telomeres, or caps, on the ends of their DNA. That's a marker of aging in cells.
There are a number of possible reasons for this. Less-educated people are more likely to come from low-income backgrounds, and low-income people are more likely to smoke, less likely to exercise, and have less access to quality health care.
But the study's authors note it could also be because education teaches people about good health and nutrition.
The British Heart Foundation, which helped fund the study, says this shows the need for taking social inequalities into account when creating health policies.
"This study found that lower academic attainment is associated with premature aging of cells in the body. It reinforces the need to tackle social inequalities to combat ill health," said Jeremy Pearson, the foundation's associate medical director.
"It's not acceptable that where you live or how much you earn -- or lesser academic attainment -- should put you at greater risk of ill health."