Enhancing Longevity Through Education: How Schooling Equates to Healthier Lives. A study reveals that each additional year spent in school or university can enhance life expectancy. This analysis indicates that not attending school is as harmful as habits like smoking or excessive drinking. Research drawing from both developed nations like the UK and the US, as well as emerging countries like China and Brazil, shows a 2% reduction in mortality risk for each year of full-time education.
Completing primary, secondary, and tertiary education can lower death risk by 34%, akin to a lifetime of healthy eating, compared to those without formal education, as reported in The Lancet Public Health journal. Conversely, never attending school is equated to the health risks of daily heavy drinking or smoking for a decade.
This study strengthens the argument for ensuring school attendance in England, highlighting the link between education and health. It suggests that increasing the school leaving age and encouraging further education could extend life expectancy in the future.
While the correlation between education and longevity is well-known, this study, conducted by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the University of Washington, is the first to quantify education’s impact on reducing mortality. Neil Davies, a medical statistics professor at University College London, praised the study but noted that shifting trends, like the UK’s educational expansion and changing smoking habits, might alter these associations.
Enhancing Longevity Through Education: How Schooling Equates to Healthier Lives
Davies also pointed out the potential labor market implications of increased school absences, which could outweigh the health concerns. The study, funded by the Norwegian government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presents strong evidence for investing in education to reduce global death rate disparities.
Dr. Terje Andreas Eikemo of NTNU, a co-author of the study, emphasizes education’s intrinsic value, not just its health benefits. The research found consistent longevity improvements across different countries, sexes, social classes, and demographics.
David Finch of the Health Foundation noted significant UK life expectancy inequalities, emphasizing education’s diverse benefits. Education fosters better social connections and decision-making skills, contributing to higher lifetime earnings, better housing, and diet. Finch, however, questioned if these advantages would persist in the future, considering current challenges like affordable housing and career earnings for the younger generation.
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