Thursday, January 9, 2014

Education: It Matters More to Health than Ever Before

Americans with fewer years of education have poorer health and shorter lives—a fact that has never been more true than today. Since the 1990s, life expectancy has decreased for people without a high school education, especially White women. Now, more than ever before, people with less education face a serious health and economic disadvantage.

New issue brief and video explore the links between education and health.

This new brief and video kick off the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health’s Education and Health Initiative, a program to raise awareness about the links between education and health. It is the first in a series of four briefs that will explain these complex connections, discuss the role of health care reform, and demonstrate why investing in education can cut health care costs.
Key Findings
  • People with less education are living shorter, sicker lives than ever before.Americans with less education face higher rates of illness, higher rates of disability, and shorter life expectancies. In the U.S., 25-year-olds without a high school diploma can expect to die 9 years sooner than college graduates.
  • These health disparities are even more prominent among White women.While overall life expectancy has generally increased, it has decreased for Whites with fewer than 12 years of education—especially White women. White women without a high school diploma are living shorter lives than they did in 1990.
  • Investing in education saves lives and dollars. More education leads to higher earnings that can provide access to healthy food, safer homes, and better health care. In contrast, people with fewer years of education generate higher medical costs and are less productive at work.

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