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 Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>