Monday, December 4, 2023

Weird Aging Science

Instapundit links to a very odd study done in Australia, and perhaps Britain. The issue is the extent to which various factors contribute to biological aging, defined thus. Note British spelling of "aging."

Biological ageing refers to cumulative damage to the body’s tissues and cells, irrespective of chronological age.

And the researchers summarize their findings thusly.

Our findings demonstrate that housing circumstances have a significant impact on biological ageing, even more so than other important social determinants, such as unemployment, for example, and therefore health impacts should be an important consideration shaping housing policies.

Reporting on the study, the NY Post adds:

The research found renting had worse effects on biological age than being unemployed (adding 1.4 weeks per year), obesity (adding 1 week per year), or being a former smoker (adding about 1.1 weeks).

University of Adelaide Professor of Housing Research Emma Baker said private renting added “about two-and-a-half weeks of aging” per year to a person’s biological clock, compared to those who own their homes.

In fact, private rental is the really interesting thing here, because social renters, for some reason, don’t seem to have that effect,” Professor Baker told the ABC News Daily podcast.

"Social renters" refers to people living in public housing.

I need to caution readers that correlation ≠ causation. When two factors occur together one of them may cause the other, or perhaps a third, unmentioned factor causes both. Regular readers have seen this caveat before.

It is likely something else is causing both being a renter and the health deficit implied in "biological aging." Very possibly poverty or personal factors like marginal employability, mental problems, chemical dependency or a criminal record. We know racial discrimination wasn't involved as all participants were of European stock.