Smoking Habits and Obesity Conditions as Adolescents Can Accelerate Premature Aging – Research in the journal JAMA Pediatrics reports that people who are obese, have a daily smoking habit or have a diagnosis of psychological disorders during adolescence, may age faster than their peers.

The researchers analyzed data from 910 participants in the Dunedin study in New Zealand.

They tracked the health and behavior of Dunedin residents born between April 1972 and March 1973. They then followed everyone from ages 3 to 45.

Later assessments found at least one adolescent health condition and outcome measures, including rate of aging, gait speed, brain age, and facial age.

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Data analysis was carried out from 11 February 2021 to 27 September 2021.

Asthma, smoking, obesity, and psychological disorders occur on average between the ages of 11, 13, and 15 years.

According to the aging factor composite score, compared with those without the condition, adolescents who smoked daily, were obese or had a biological diagnosis of psychological disorders, were older in middle age.

That was not the case in adolescents with asthma, which the investigators noted was in contrast to proposals from previous studies.

Those with two or more comorbidities were biologically older than those without any health conditions.

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A secondary analysis also found that those with health problems had a faster rate of aging, older brain age, and older facial age than middle age and aged almost three months earlier each year compared to participants without the health condition. the.

The group also walked 11.2 centimeters per second slower, had a brain age two and a half years older, and had a facial age nearly four years older than those who did not.

Study authors measured the rate of aging with repeated assessments of body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, blood tests, hormones to regulate appetite and fat storage, blood pressure, cholesterol, tooth decay, cardiorespiratory fitness, and brain MRI.

Asthma status was assessed using a standardized interview of participants by a pulmonary specialist. Smoking status was assessed using self-reports from direct interviews.

The researchers also concluded that the condition can be treated during adolescence to reduce the risk of biological aging more quickly later in life.

“Treating these modifiable childhood health conditions may prevent the accumulation of chronic disease, the development of disability, and the risk of premature death in adulthood by reducing the risk of accelerated biological aging,” the researchers wrote.

However, limitations of the study included that participants were predominantly white, other health conditions could also be relevant to middle age and that the Dunedin Study was observational.

The authors note further future research is needed to ensure the observed association with faster aging can be managed with treatment.