Fretting over housing and jobs makes youngsters ill in later life, study reveals


JOB and housing worries today will put younger people at greater risk of illness as they get older.

Stresses caused by factors such as zero-hours contracts, financial hardship and uncertain tenancies slowly build up only to break out later.

PA:Press Association

Younger people stressed by financial hardship and their housing situation are at greater risk of heart disease and strokes[/caption]

The so-called allostatic load — “the strain on the body produced by repeated ups and downs” — can lead to conditions including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, experts have warned.
The Health Foundation called the concept “one of the biggest untold health stories of our time”.

Adapting to stress means changes in the nervous and immune systems, and can both benefit and harm the individual.

Young people are thought to be particularly susceptible to the damage, with changes in the brain occurring faster in our first 20 years.

Jo Bibby, its director of health, said what appeared to be social problems were in fact health problems relating to “physiological wear and tear”.

And while the employment rate is high, young people can find themselves in insecure or temporary work including zero-hour contracts or experiencing financial hardship.

She added: “Exposure to poorer socio- ­economic circumstances almost is a pathogen . . . it increases people’s likelihood of poor health and early death.”

But she also advised that young people can reduce the risk posed by allostatic load by “retaining hope for the future”.

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