HEDA: Reconnection Step
Education and Health
Education opens the doors to opportunities and resources that lead to a higher socioeconomic status or class. More education is associated with higher-paying jobs and the related benefits like financial security, health insurance, healthier working conditions, and social connections. Education also gives us the tools we need to make informed choices about our health. People who have more years of education tend to live longer and have better health. Education also affects health across generations because children of more educated parents tend to be healthier and do better in school.
Everyone knows that without a good education, prospects for a good job with good earnings are slim. Few people think of education as a crucial path to health, however. Yet a large body of evidence strongly—and, with very rare exceptions, consistently—links education with health, even when other factors like income are taken into account. People with more education are likely to live longer, to experience better health outcomes, and to practice health-promoting behaviors such as exercising regularly, refraining from smoking, and obtaining timely health care check-ups and screenings. Educational attainment among adults is linked with children’s health as well, beginning early in life: babies of more-educated mothers are less likely to die before their first birthdays, and children of more-educated parents experience better health.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson, Commission to Build a Healthier America. Education and Health, Issue Brief #5, Exploring the Social Determinants of Health, April 2011. (Accessed July 1, 2015)