Is a Good Education the Best Medicine of All?

Wendy Lynch

Originally published by the Altarum Institute.

Junior, do your homework so you can grow up to be big and strong.

There is an undeniable link between education and health, even as we age. More school translates to:

– Lower incidence of virtually every chronic disease;
– Longer life span; and
– Higher self-ratings of health at every age (1).

But why and how education makes us healthy is not as clear. Some advantages of book work are obvious: education allows you to get a better job, earn more, have access to health care benefits, and perhaps gain a better grasp of health information that allow you to make better decisions. All true, but none fully explain the positive effect that education has on health. It is more complex than these factors alone (1, p. 51).

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