Studies have long shown that education is linked to better health, but new research by Pamela Herd, an associate professor of public affairs and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that higher academic performance in high school plays a critical role in better health throughout life.
"How well you do in school matters," Herd says about the findings, which were published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. "We already know it matters for things like your work and your earnings, but this proves it also matters for your health."
The finding may come years — or decades — after someone is in a position to do something to earn better grades. But for those who are still in school, there's every reason to believe the link between academic performance and health exists for younger people, too, Herd says.
The conclusion relies on data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a groundbreaking survey that has involved more than 10,000 graduates of Wisconsin's high school class of 1957 during the last 53 years. UW-Madison researchers have gone back to the class members six times since they graduated, asking questions about work, life, family and now, as the class ages, health.
The report on academic performance and health looked at links between educational attainment, high school academic performance, personality and psychological characteristics, and late-life health among high school graduates.
Herd's findings showed that the higher a study participant's high school rank was, the lower the probability that participant experienced worsening health between 1992 and 2003, when the class members neared retirement age.
Researchers are still working to learn more about why academic performance leads to better health outcomes.
Herd says that she thought that conscientiousness would help explain the finding. Those who are more conscientious might both do better in school and also take better care of their health.
But the data don't support that finding, Herd says.
Instead, "what we're seeing is what you learn in school may actually matter for your health," Herd says, adding that there could be policy implications for the study. Because the study looks at a person's grades, "that tells us something about the consequences of emphasizing test scores over academic performance, for example, and further speaks to the importance of schooling."
Pamela Herd | EurekAlert!
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy