A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this week found that aging was accelerated at the cellular level in African-American men who reported experiencing racial discrimination and who internalized anti-black attitudes.
Although it is well-known that African-Americans have a shorter life span than whites, researchers from the University of Maryland are believed to be the first to link biological aging to racism-related factors, according to UMD Right Now.
“We examined a biomarker of systemic aging, known as leukocyte telomere length,” UMD’s School of Public Health assistant professor of epidemiology Dr. David H. Chae explained. “We found that the African American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied.”
Shorter telomere length has been associated with premature death and greater risk for diseases like diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease.