(HealthDay News) – Young adult men who are unemployed for long periods have shorter telomeres, a sign of accelerated biological aging, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in PLOS ONE.

Leena Ala-Mursula, MD, from the University of Oulu in Finland, and colleagues analyzed leukocyte telomere length in 5,620 men and women in Finland when they were 31 years old and examined the association with employment status.

The researchers found that men who were unemployed for more than 500 days during the preceding three years were more likely to have shorter telomeres (odds ratio, 2.61). There was no association between employment status and telomere length in women.

“Prolonged unemployment among men in their early adulthood is associated with shorter leukocyte telomere length, a potential indicator of accelerated biological aging,” Ala-Mursula and colleagues conclude.

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