By Marianne Stenger
We all know how important a well-rounded education is, but in recent years, research has been uncovering another very good reason to make sure that kids stay in school – good health.
And it’s not just a one-way street; education and health seem to propagate each other, with numerous studies showing that healthy living leads to improved cognitive function, which in turn leads to higher grades, and again, better health.
Here are five fascinating studies that demonstrate how education and good health tie in together.
One Extra Year of School Means A Healthier Lifestyle
A recent study from the University of Melbourne shows that just one extra year of school can significantly affect a person’s diet, exercise patterns and other health habits even long after they have finished their schooling.
The researchers found that one added year of compulsory education increased the health consciousness of adults by 17%, indicating that people are leading healthier lives as a direct result of more education.
Adults whose parents had less than 12 years of formal education showed more significant lifestyle improvements, which makes sense, of course, because parents with less education would have been less likely to pass on health conscious habits to their children.
More Educated People Live Longer
A study by Harvard scientists shows that people with more than a high school education can expect to live up to seven years longer than their less educated counterparts.
To study this, the researchers used death certificate data along with census population estimates and data from the National Mortality Study. They found that life expectancy increases almost exclusively occurred among high-education groups.
Between 1980 and 1990, the life expectancy for highly educated people went up by nearly a year and a half, but only half a year for less educated individuals. In the following ten years the gap widened even further, and highly educated people saw their life expectancy increase by 1.6 years, while less educated people saw no changes at all.
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