It’s well-known that renting a home can be a costly stressor. But, according to a recent study, it might even speed up your biological clock compared to being a homeowner.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Essex, suggests that individuals who rent in the private sector show signs of faster biological aging. This is linked to the overall wear and tear on the body’s cells and tissues and isn’t necessarily tied to chronological age– like your birthday.
On a positive note, the study also points out that these effects aren’t set in stone and can be reversed, highlighting the crucial role of housing policies in shaping our well-being and health.
“Our results suggest that challenging housing circumstances negatively affect health through faster biological aging. However, biological aging is reversible, highlighting the significant potential for housing policy changes to improve health,” the researchers wrote.
The research, which has since been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, shows that the pace of biological aging in renters compared to homeowners is almost double the difference seen between employed and unemployed individuals.
Dr. Amy Clair, the primary investigator of the study, points out that the impact was also 50% more significant than the disparity between those who used to smoke and those who’ve never smoked.
Furthermore, the team discovered that past housing conditions, like ongoing housing debt and exposure to environmental pollutants, play a role in accelerating biological aging.
And when other variables were considered, such as people living in social housing– which is generally more affordable and offers stable tenancy– no difference was observed in terms of the aging rate compared to those who own their homes outright.
The researchers relied on epigenetic data, which explores the ways in which lifestyle and environmental factors can alter gene functions without changing the actual DNA sequence.