Posted on July 23, 2014

Controversial Research Claims Black People Age More Quickly–And Are up to Three Years Older in Health Terms

Mark Prigg, Daily Mail (London), July 22, 2014

Black people age more quickly than white people, a controversial new study has claimed.

Researchers say that the research could shed new light on higher mortality rates in black people.

They say the biological age differences by race increase up until ages 60-69, and then decline.

‘Our results showed that, on average, blacks tend to be more than three years older biologically than whites,’ Morgan Levine and Eileen Crimmins of the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology wrote in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

‘Blacks experience morbidity and mortality earlier in the life course compared to whites,’ they said.

‘This is consistent with findings from previous studies reporting that blacks tend to have levels of biological risk factors that are indicative of someone significantly older chronologically.’

‘Such premature declines in health may be indicative of an acceleration of the aging process.’

The team found that the difference in age can be up to three years.

Differences in biological age between blacks and whites appear to increase up until ages 60-65 and then decline, presumably due to mortality selection.

The researchers calculated each participant’s ‘biological age’ by looking at 10 biomarkers that have been linked to aging, including C-reactive protein, serum creatinine, glycosylated hemoglobin, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol.

They also noted their body-mass index, level of education, and whether they were present or former smokers.

‘On average, the biological age for blacks was 53.16 years,’ compared to 49.84 years for whites, the researchers report.

The team say the cause could be stress-related.

‘Everyday stressors associated with being black may negatively impact physiological functioning and, under chronic exposure, accumulate over the lifespan and contribute to growing disparities in biological risk,’ the authors wrote.

‘Furthermore, if such environmental, behavioral, and mental factors contribute to an acceleration of the aging process, we would expect that persons who are aging the fastest should have the highest risk of mortality, and thus (have a) lower life expectancy.’