Education Matters to Health Outcomes
Medicine has made astounding advances since the turn of the century and by any measure health and life expectancy should be increasing. The problem is, they're not for everyone and increasingly the common denominator is education. Those are the findings of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. According to the center, Americans with more education have:
Longer Lives - From 1990 to 2008, the life expectancy gap between the most and least educated Americans increased from 8 to 10 years for females, and from 13 to 14 years for males.
Better Health - Those with more education are less likely to have major diseases. For instance, 7% of college graduates had diabetes by 2011 compared to 15% of adults without a high school diploma.
Fewer Risk Factors - Smoking and obesity are less prevalent among the more educated. Only 8% of those with a bachelor's degree smoke compared to 27% of those with a high school diploma or GED.
Fewer Disabilities - The more educated are less likely to have diminished physical abilities, or suffer from disability.
Why is education so important to health? The center notes that more education leads to better jobs that provide the resources to access better medical care and live healthier lifestyles. Furthermore, adults with higher levels of education are more likely to access health care when needed and to make use of preventive services.
The center is also beginning to look at large cities and their neighborhoods to illustrate how disparities in education are related to disparities in health. They haven't yet charted Canton, but they have done Cleveland. Here is what they found: "If you travel less than ten miles from Cleveland's northeastern neighborhoods to the more affluent eastern outer-ring suburbs, life expectancy can differ by as much as 12 years."
See Education: It Matters More to Health than Ever Before
 Connections between Education and Health. Emily Zimmerma
n, PhD, MSVCU Center on Society and Health, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. Presentation to The Health Policy Institute of Ohio Forum, State policymaking at the intersection of education and health Dublin, Ohio on September 15, 2016