Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fitter by degress? Higher education no panacea for adult health

03.06.2005


Poor education may be linked to bad health, but simply putting more of us through university will not ensure adults are fit and well, according to new research sponsored by the ESRC.



Though highly educated men and women are generally healthier, what happens in childhood and beyond is key to our well-being later in life, says the study led by Dr. Tarani Chandola, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London (UCL).

And his report found no evidence that better health among more highly educated adults is linked to high intelligence as a child.


The study argues that policies on reducing inequalities in health should be aimed at specific areas such as people’s working conditions or enabling healthy lifestyles, rather than directly at education.

Dr Chandola said: “Education affects health throughout our lifetime. For instance, children with poor health end up less well educated and with poorer health as grown-ups.” He continued: “Higher education also affects a person’s sense of control as well as their chances of getting a better, well paid job. This in turn encourages them to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours.”

Links between education and health have been found consistently in various studies around the world. These show that people with limited education have poorer health, more disability and greater chances of death.

For the UCL study, social science statistical methods, rarely used in this area of research, enabled investigators to estimate the direct and indirect effects of a combination of factors thought to link education and health.

The report says that being well in childhood is important for men and women, as apart from the direct effects on adult health, illness in a child has an indirect effect if it limits his or her education.

Men’s adult social class indirectly affects their health when it comes to adopting healthy behaviours such as not smoking, exercising and good diet. Similarly, childhood social class, and the consequent importance attached to a girl’s education, indirectly affects the health of women.

Dr Chandola said: “Our research shows that although a larger proportion of people are acquiring degree level educational qualifications, this may not directly or automatically lead to better adult health. We must not assume that investment in education is a panacea. If policies aimed at improving education also adversely affect any of the other combination of factors involved they will fail, or have far less of an impact on health than was expected.”

The study warns that as more people obtain degree level qualifications, even the improvements in health now attributed to going through higher education may no longer apply.

Dr Chandola said: “When it comes to encouraging healthy behaviour, we need to focus on people’s everyday working and social lives as adults. Our research has found that a rise in educational attainment may not automatically lead to improvements in people’s health. Policies for improving health and reducing inequalities need to target specific causes.” He added: “Apart from providing evidence on what types of policies may reduce the association between education and health, our study also suggests when interventions are most useful.

“There are high returns associated with taking action in childhood and adolescence. Improving health in childhood and adolescence results in higher educational achievement and healthier adults.”

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>