London: A study has indicated that people with fewer qualifications are prone to age more quickly.
DNA evidence suggested that cellular ageing is more advanced in adults with no qualifications compared with those who have a university degree.
Experts thought education might help people lead more healthy lives.
The British Heart Foundation said the London-based study, which looked at 400 men and women, reinforced the need to tackle social inequalities.
"Education is a marker of social class that people acquire early in life, and our research suggests that it is long-term exposure to the conditions of lower status that promotes accelerated cellular ageing,” the BBC quoted Professor Andrew Steptoe, from University College London, who led the study, as saying.
Steptoe`s team took blood from more than 400 men and women aged between 53 and 75.
They then measured the length of sections of DNA found at the ends of chromosomes.
These sections - called "telomeres" - cap chromosomes, protecting them from damage. Shorter telomeres are thought to be an indicator of faster ageing.
The results showed that people with lower educational attainment had shorter telomeres, indicating that they may age faster.
They also indicated that telomere length was not affected by a person`s social and economic status later in life, as was previously thought.
The study has been published in journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity.