Does Education Lead to Better Health?

A new report finds that more education makes people feel more healthy.

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A report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released this week shows that individuals who are more highly educated are also healthier, indicating that there might be more to good health than high-quality healthcare.

The report from the Commission to Build a Healthier America found that adults across the country who have not graduated from high school are more than 2½ times as likely as college graduates to say that they are not in very good health. Though the disparity exists in every state, the report finds, it is particularly clear in states like Mississippi, where nearly 75 percent of adults who had not completed high school reported being in poor health, compared with just 37 percent of college graduates.

"Access to affordable, high-quality medical care is essential, but that alone will not improve the health of all Americans," says Alice Rivlin, cochair of the commission, in a summary of the report's findings. "What this report tells us is that education has a tremendous impact on how long and how well we live. Policymakers need to focus on schools and education as well as promoting healthier homes, communities, and workplaces to improve the health of our nation."

The report also cites California as the state with the largest gap between the proportion of adults who feel unhealthy who have college degrees and the proportion of adults who feel unhealthy but did not finish high school, a span of 20 percentage points.

To find more information about your state, you can follow this link to the commission's website.


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