With an annual New Year's fixation on dieting, exercise, and
nutrition, there is a new report from VCU that highlights factors associated
with better health.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the
Center on Society and Health has offered a compelling observation: " Americans
with fewer years of education have poorer health and shorter lives…in fact, since
1990's, life expectancy has decreased for people without a high school
education, especially white women…education is important not only for higher
paying jobs and economic productivity, but also for saving lives and dollars."
The common sense core of this research is that more education leads to better
choices about health and the resources that are available to support it. Many
companies have shown the way in employee assistance programs that focus on
prevention. Healthy employees are more productive and reduce the costs of
healthcare plans and factors associated with absences.
The research also
highlights that less education is associated with shorter lives, more risk
factors and greater disability.
Dr. Steve Wolfe, MD, director of the VCU Center
actually states, "I don't think most Americans know that children with less
education are destined to live sicker and die sooner."
While recently being
treated for pain in my leg, the doctor noted, "Bill, if you were having a heart
attack and you complained of pain in your arm, I would not treat your arm."
Whether policy makers or students, perhaps we should look at education a little
differently and treat it like our lives depend upon it.