The rising cost of living is affecting the health of the poorest households, a new study has suggested.
According to the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, less wealthy people live a much more unhealthy lifestyle.
Those living in poorer households are more likely to be obese and to take less exercise than those who are more wealthy. Around 43% of women from the poorest fifth of households are obese, compared with only 28% among the wealthiest fifth.
They are also more likely to smoke and to eat less healthily. Only 39% of men in the bottom fifth of households ate five portions of fruit or vegetables a day, compared with 61% among the richest fifth.
The study revealed that those aged over 50 are becoming less active, and that both waist size and weight had increased markedly since the research was last carried out.
Less wealthy people are also more likely to suffer from hypertension and diabetes.
The group also found that the less wealthy people are, the lower their levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate is.
Lower levels of this hormone, used to predict life expectancy, leads to the biological ageing process occurring more quickly in people in poorer socio-economic circumstances.