By: Bill Bosher
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.