Recent studies come to support the idea that a higher education can get you further in life. A multi-university study investigating the connection between longevity and education concluded that a lack of education shortens lifespan.
The study was published in this month’s issue of the scientific journal PLoS ONE and has examined the data of more than 1 million adults collected between 1986 and 2006. This study is the combined effort of researchers from the Universities of New York, North Carolina and Colorado and claims that failing to achieve a higher education may very well limit your life span.
“Our results suggest that policies and interventions that improve educational attainment could substantially improve survival in the US population,” Patrick Krueger, one of the study’s authors explains.
Of course, there is a multitude of factors that influence a person’s lifespan, and education is an essential component, as it influences social status, career trajectories, income levels as well as overall life choices and behavior.
The researchers concluded that approximately 145,000 deaths that occurred in 2010 alone would have been preventable if the subjects in question would have earned a GED or graduated high school. Moreover, the study also suggested that there is a great number of preventable deaths that could be averted if adults would go back and earn their high school degrees.
Mortality rates also differed when comparing different education levels. If mortality rates only experienced modest decreases among adults who had obtained high-school degrees, they plunged in the case of adults who had earned college degrees.
“Education – which is a more fundamental, upstream driver of health behaviors and disparities – should also be a key element of U.S. health policy,” lead author, Virginia Chang explains, noting that health policies shouldn’t only target lifestyle changes, diet and bad habits (such as smoking).
Currently, only 10% of all Americans aged 25 to 34 have earned high school degrees.
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