People who earn less than the average wage and combine this with a poor nutritional diet are at risk of premature ageing.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow studied the length of people’s telomerones, the ‘ends’ of chromosomes which shorten as a person gets older, over a 10 year period.
The results showed that the lengths of a person’s telomerones were reduced in length by 7.7 percent if the person has a household income of less than £25,000.
Meanwhile, telmerones also reduced by 7.7 percent in those study participants who ate unhealthily and had poor diets.
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However, people who kept to healthy diets had their telomerones reduce by only 1.8 percent and similarly, those earning an income higher than £25,000 experienced a reduction of just 0.6 percent.
The study looked at 382 people who were living in Glasgow, Scotland, in one of the most deprived areas of the city.
One of the lead researchers, Dr Paul Sheilds, said of the study and results: “Glasgow's population has one of the most extreme socioeconomic gradients in the world, which makes it an ideal place to conduct a study such as this.
“This study is a first for the city in that it provides a link between how adverse social conditions can influence the biology of ageing and hence disease.”
He added: “What we've shown is that social status and deprivation play a major part in how quickly people age and develop disease.
“Eating poorly and earning less than average is likely to increase the rate you age and can lead to increased inflammation and risk for cardiovascular disease, which is endemic in the city.”