Kids are being told to stay in school all the time. And the benefits are very obvious on the surface – better high school grades get you accepted in better colleges, and graduating from better colleges help you land better jobs in the future.
But a new study, published earlier this week, on July 8, 2015, in the journal PLOS One, suggests that there are indirect benefits to getting your degrees as well – it turns out that the more educated you are, the more your risk of death lowers.
To reach this conclusion, a team of researchers from New York University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Colorado, teamed up to look at over one million United States residents and assess what impact an individual’s level of education has over their health.
What they found was that over 145.000 of all deaths that took place in 2010 would have been prevented if legal adults that didn’t graduate high school during their youth would have eventually gotten a high school degree or a GED.
Additionally, 110.00 other deaths that took place in 2010 would have been prevented if legal adults that didn’t graduate who started college in their youth but never finished it, would have eventually gone back and completed their bachelor’s degree.
Even though the researchers mentioned that they could not find undeniable proof that little to no education results in early death, they did stress that there is an undeniable connection between the level of education an individual has and their risk of death.
Explanations aren’t hard to see as well educated people typically make more money and adopt healthier behaviors, including taking care of their psychological well-being. But lack of knowledge and poverty often cause people to make the wrong choice in life.
What’s more, statistics back up this connection. The researchers revealed that there was a drop in death rates among the subjects who possessed a high school degree, but that there was an even bigger drop in death rates among the subjects who possessed a bachelor’s degree.
Virginia Chang, study author and associate professor specialized in public health and working at New York University’s School of Culture, gave a statement sharing that those working in public health policy typically focus their energy on changing health behaviors such as drinking, smoking and an unhealthy diet.
But she believes that this approach is limited and that “Education – which is a more fundamental, upstream driver of health behaviors and disparities – should also be a key element of U.S. health policy” if the experts are to prevent future tragedies.
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