A recent study published in PLOS ONE suggests that mortality due to low education is comparable to mortality from continued smoking—so much so that the association between education and mortality is fundamental.
Researchers note that people with a higher education tend to have higher incomes, healthier behavior patterns, improved social lives, and more access to medical treatment—factors that contribute to a lower risk of death.
Study researchers used data from a National Health Interview Survey. The data estimated the number of deaths that were accredited to low levels of education on over one million individuals from 1986 to 2006.
The team discovered that 145,243 deaths could have been prevented in 2010 if adults who dropped out of high school went back to obtain their high school degree. Researchers found this number to be similar to the number of deaths that could have been evaded if current smokers had the mortality rates of former smokers.
The team further discovered that 110,068 deaths could have been prevented if adults with minimal college education continued their studies and obtained a bachelor’s degree.
The mortality rates for those with a high school diploma fell modestly; the mortality rates for those who had a college degree decreased even further.
Study authors state that increasing the levels of education Americans receive has the potential to reduce adult death rates in the U.S. They hope that policies and interventions used to get children and adults to go to school could improve the survival rate across America.
Source for Today’s Article:
MacGill, M. “Poor education is a killer on a part with continued smoking,” Medical News Today web site, July 9, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296491.php.