Study Shows These Teen Health Risks Could Age You Faster As An Adult

Kids may be resilient, but harmful health habits and risks may follow them into adulthood. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that children ages 11 to 15 who smoked cigarettes every day, were obese, or had a psychological disorder were at risk of aging three months faster every year than their peers. Participants were followed from age 3 to 45. Those who had health risks as children were found to walk slightly slower and have an older brain than those who didn't. The study also looked at people with asthma but found no aging difference between those who had asthma and those who didn't.

"This adds to that past research by expanding it to these four conditions, of which we only found that three were associated with accelerated aging," said the study's first author Kyle Bourassa, a clinical psychology researcher and advanced research fellow at the Durham VA Health Care System (via CNN). The researchers hope that this study will help doctors find ways to prevent faster aging earlier in the life of at-risk adolescents.

Factors that can make you age faster

There are many health risks that can cause you to age faster. What you eat and drink throughout your life can greatly impact how you look and feel as you get older. According to Eat This, Not That!, excess drinking can make your skin look worse as the years go by. "The occasional glass (or two) of wine is no harm to you or your skin, but drinking to excess, especially sugary drinks, causes cell-damaging free radicals. Alcohol also robs the body of vitamin A, an antioxidant that's essential for cell renewal and turnover," said Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, MD. A diet high in meat and sugar can also accelerate the aging process.

The basic health practices that keep us healthy, like regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and getting plenty of sleep, also help us age more slowly. If you have trouble with your weight, exercise habits, or sleep habits, speak with a healthcare professional to help you find ways to be healthier.