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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Study Finds Better Educated People Have Higher Life Expectancy

A study by the Harvard School of Medicine has shown people with a better education live longer. Those with more than 12 years of education, which includes more than a high school diploma, can expect to live to 82. However for those with 12 or fewer years of education, life expectancy is pegged at 75.

Lead researcher Ellen R. Meara, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School said, "The life expectancy gained is really occurring much more so in the better-educated groups." The better-educated gained more than 1.5 years over the same period, the study showed.

"A 25-year-old with a high school degree in 1990 could expect to live another 50 years, or for about 75 years," Meara told AFP.

Better educated people have good access to both information about disease and medical advances thus making it one of the factors that help increase life expectancy. The better educated have information about how to live longer and healthier lives.

It also added that the less educated people are likely to have lower income and most probably live in areas that have poor housing conditions. They may also have worse access to health insurance coverage and health services.

The study found that life expectancy grew across the board for all races and genders between 1990 and 2000. The authors however looked only at non-Hispanic blacks and whites.

A well educated white man lived, on average, 5.8 years longer than a white man with less education in 1990, the study concluded. By 2000, that difference had grown to 7.9 years. The life expectancy of poorly educated black and white women went down by 0.9 years and 0.2 years over 10 years, due in large part to lung diseases.

The researchers used census population estimates and death certificate data covering 1990 to 2000, and information from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study (NLMS), which included statistics spanning 1981 to 1998.

The study was published in the March/April issue of Health Affairs.

Source: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7010303126

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