The Less Qualified May Age More Quickly


New research suggests that people who leave education with fewer qualifications may age more quickly.


The study, led by Professor Andrew Steptoe, from University College London, separated 450 people aged between 53 and 74 into four groups according to how long they stayed in education. The researchers found that people who left education earlier had shorter ‘caps’, called telomeres, on the ends of their DNA – a marker of ageing in cells. 

A link between health and socioeconomic status has long been recognised.  People from poorer backgrounds are more likely to smoke, take less exercise and have less access to good quality healthcare.  They are also more likely to leave education earlier and achieve fewer qualifications. 



This new study suggests that education might be a more precise determinant of a person’s long term health than their current income or social status.


Professor Jeremy Pearson, the British Heart Foundation’s Associate Medical Director, said:

“This study found that lower academic attainment is associated with premature ageing of cells in the body. It reinforces the need to tackle social inequalities to combat ill health.

“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.” 











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