According to new research, if you live in a disadvantaged or bad neighborhood, this can adversely impact both your physical and mental health. As a result, your cells age faster – causing you to look much older. The research suggests that people who are in a neighborhood that has high crime, loud neighbors, and vandalism could become biologically older for about a decade than those who don’t.

About the Study

There were over 2,900 people involved in the study, which took place in the Netherlands. The researchers discovered that those who live in areas with high levels or crime, noise, and wreckage can be considered 12 years older than individuals with the same chronological age who live in other places.

Previous research can support the link between poor mental and physical health and being in a bad neighborhood. The author of the study, Mijung Park, is a University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing assistant professor. Together with her team of colleagues, they focused on the human telomeres, which are what protects the strands of DNA on genes. As people age, the telomeres shorten. However, it is possible to accelerate aging if there is mental and physical stress in the surroundings. This is why people who are in a bad neighborhood are older biologically and usually, physically as well.