The Lasting Scars of Poverty

When it occurs early in life, the stress of poverty can have devastating -- even deadly -- health effects.

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A client stocks up on goods at a New York food pantry. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The strain of poverty is traumatizing enough, but the scars can be lasting and even deadly when it occurs early in life, the Huffington Post reports.

Whites in the U.S. live about five years longer than blacks because of socioeconomic factors, not genetics, the report shows. And the stress elevates levels of stress hormones and increases the risk of heart attack.

As Moises Velasquez-Manoff reported in an excellent story in the New York Times last month, people born at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, regardless of later-life outcomes, are more prone to illness and premature death because "the effects of early-life stress also seem to linger, unfavorably molding our nervous systems and possibly even accelerating the rate at which we age." 

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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