Unhealthy lifestyle during pubertal years is associated with accelerated biological aging in young adulthood, according to a study published in eLife (2022).
The study participants originated from the longitudinal FinnTwin12 study (n = 5114). Adolescent lifestyle-related factors, including body mass index (BMI), leisure-time physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use, were based on self-reports and measured at ages 12, 14, and 17 years.
Five subgroups of participants with different adolescent lifestyle behavior patterns were identified.
The group with the unhealthiest lifestyle and the group of participants with high BMI were biologically older than the groups with healthier lifestyle habits.
The differences in lifestyle-related factors were maintained into young adulthood.
Both the group with the overall unhealthiest lifestyle and that with a high BMI were biologically 1.7–3.3 years older than the those with healthier lifestyle patterns. Moreover, they had 2–5 weeks/calendar year faster pace of biological aging.
The authors concluded that the results suggest that the unhealthy lifestyle-induced changes in biological aging begin to accumulate in early life and that these changes might predispose individuals to premature death in later life.
This innovative study highlights the critical importance of prevention and health specialists implementing multiple risk behavior interventions such as those targeting substance use and physical inactivity in adolescence to prevent premature biological aging which can continue into later life.
Read the entire study: https://elifesciences.org/articles/80729