Education may not only improve a person's finances, it is also linked to better health habits and a longer life.
For instance, people who have a bachelor's degree or higher live about nine years longer than those who don't graduate from high school, according to an annual report, out today, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Some of the health data reached back a decade or more.
Gina Lundberg, a preventive cardiologist in Atlanta, says a shorter life expectancy among less-educated people has been consistent for the last few decades.
The study found that in 2010, 31% of adults ages 25 to 64 with a high school diploma or less were currently smoking, compared with 24% of those who had some college and 9% with a bachelor's degree.
"Highly educated people tend to have healthier behaviors, avoid unhealthy ones and have more access to medical care when they need it," says the report's lead author, Amy Bernstein, a health services researcher for the National Center for Health Statistics. "All of these factors are associated with better health."
The report also found that in 2010 24% of boys and 22% of girls were obese in households where the heads of the family had less than a high school education; the figures are 11% of boys and 7% of girls where the head of the household had a bachelor's degree or higher.
Poor people sometimes live in less healthy communities with less access to healthy foods and places to be physically active, Bernstein says. "It's all interconnected."
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