- One recent study showed that rates of child maltreatment worsened as the recent Great Recession deepened and wallets deflated.
- Researchers say that the less income your family had when you were growing up, the more likely you are to have health problems as an adult.
telomeres and their effect on health and longevity here. The short story is this; telomere length is a “biomarker” of aging. That is, they shorten as we get older. And as they shorten, they lose their ability to function well.
Having shorter telomeres is connected to the early onset of many illnesses, including heart disease and cancer in older adults. As this 2013 study shows, the shortening of your telomeres also increases your susceptibility to acute infectious disease in young to midlife adults.
In other words, the common cold is more common to those who grew up in a lower socioeconomic state.
In the study, researchers measured the telomere lengths of white blood cells from 152 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.
To gauge childhood and current socioeconomic status, the participants were asked to report whether they currently owned their home and whether their parents owned the family home when they were between the ages of 1 and 18.
The participants were then exposed to a rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. They were then quarantined for five days to see if they actually developed an upper respiratory infection. Some did, and some didn’t.
The results showed that those participants who reported growing up with a lower socioeconomic status — indicated by fewer years that their parents were homeowners — had shorter-than-average telomere length, and were more likely to get sick.
- Telomere length decreased by 5 percent for each year the participants' parents did not own a home.
- Parental homeownership in both early childhood and adolescence were both associated with adult telomere length.
- Participants with lower childhood socioeconomic status were more likely to become infected by the cold virus. Specifically, for each year their parents did not own a home during their childhood years up to age 18, the participants' odds of developing a cold increased by 9 percent.