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Education Is Good for Your Health

by Elizabeth Ryan 


Tags: Science and Technology, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Penelope Lemov, education, health, public health, college graduates, degree, Governing, Elizabeth Ryan,

graduates

Here’s a lesson: Going to school (and especially graduating) does a body good. In the recent issue of Governing, Penelope Lemov reports that “the higher your degree, the healthier you are.” Statistics show that as people climb the academic ladder their reported level of health increases significantly. This assessment comes from research findings analyzed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which looked at education and health statistics in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are staggering health differences among those who do or don't graduate from high school and those who have dropped out or finished college—which is great news for those with college diplomas, but quite troubling for those without. Lemov writes:

The most discouraging part of the report is its implication for children. Undereducated parents tend to be poor and to rear their children in households with limited access to grocery stores that carry fresh fruits and vegetables; to live in less safe housing; to have insufficient access to safe places to exercise—all of which affect a family’s health. “For the first time in our history, we are raising a generation of children that may live shorter, sicker lives than their parents,” says Dennis Rivera, a commissioner of RWJF’s Commission to Build a Healthier America.

Sources: Governing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Image by Herkie, licensed under Creative Commons.

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ryan_2
6/29/2009 4:24:19 AM

This study seems inconclusive. As the reporters say themselves, "Undereducated parents tend to be poor and to rear their children in households with limited access to grocery stores that carry fresh fruits and vegetables." The connection to me seems to be more involved with money. Education isn't cheap. So, those with money for a college diploma also can afford medical care and safer foods. Then, of course, those without, cannot. (Additionally, I could argue that many degrees are "bought" more than "earned," and that displaying a college diploma isn't necessarily a representation of how education that person is, and less so of how intelligent. So claiming that a college degree will make you healthier is downright absurd.) How else would the education of the parents affect the children? Correlation does not equal causation. There are so many other factors to consider here as well. College degrees often allow for better jobs which provide health care. It sounds to me more like propaganda to increase student enrollment and boost the universities' economic situation.


ryan_2
6/29/2009 4:23:31 AM

This study seems inconclusive. As the reporters say themselves, "Undereducated parents tend to be poor and to rear their children in households with limited access to grocery stores that carry fresh fruits and vegetables." The connection to me seems to be more involved with money. Education isn't cheap. So, those with money for a college diploma also can afford medical care and safer foods. Then, of course, those without, cannot. (Additionally, I could argue that many degrees are "bought" more than "earned," and that displaying a college diploma isn't necessarily a representation of how education that person is, and less so of how intelligent. So claiming that a college degree will make you healthier is downright absurd.) How else would the education of the parents affect the children? Correlation does not equal causation. There are so many other factors to consider here as well. College degrees often allow for better jobs which provide health care. It sounds to me more like propaganda to increase student enrollment and boost the universities' economic situation.


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