Americans could live much longer and healthier lives if they strived to achieve one important thing, according to an August 30, 2015 article published by Vox Health Care.
What, exactly, can make people live longer? Most people would say elimination of smoking. Others would guess that cutting back sugar or exercising more would do the trick. But the key to better health and longevity isn’t any of these things. It is actually education. Dropping out of high school seems to have the greatest negative impact on health, followed by leaving college early, before completion of a bachelor’s degree program.
According to research published in the scientific journal Plos One, 145,000 deaths could have been prevented in 2010 if high school dropouts had stayed in school. And if college dropouts had completed their degrees, another 110,000 lives could have been saved. Taking this a step further, nearly 500,000 premature deaths could be prevented annually of every American held a Bachelor’s degree.
What is it about education that improves health? Everyone knows that those with bachelor’s degrees earn significantly more money over their lifetimes than those without degrees. The income gap between high school graduates and dropouts is also quite large. Higher education seems to correlate with better health and there are multiple reasons why- reasons that go beyond the simple fact of having more money. More educated people are more likely to eat well. They are more likely to seek out medical treatment, not to mention more likely to be able to pay for the best health treatment. The usually exercise more, too, and are less likely to be obese. Add everything up and you have all the makings for a healthier individual.
Researchers who have studied health and education in the past have drawn similar conclusions. Today’s researchers are trying to take the conclusions and show why education is actually a public health problem. They want lawmakers to see that, if education was more readily available and more people were able to obtain a degree, Americans would be healthier overall and it could help contain out of control health care costs, at least to an extent.
Parents almost universally agree that education is important and they invest much time, effort, and money making sure their children receive the best education possible. The research published in Plos One illustrates this fact even more clearly and shows that public health could be improved by simply making education more available, more affordable, and more achievable. Every percentage point deduction in the high school and college dropout rate could result in longer, healthier lives. Parents should therefore do whatever they can to keep kids in school and on track to graduate from both high school and college. The good health of your children depend on it.