Education Plays a Key Role in Determining Life Expectancy, Finds Study

“Improving equity in access to and quality of education is something tangible that can help reverse this troubling trend in the reduction of life expectancy among middle-aged adults.”

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A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health has found that education could help you live a longer life.

Researchers have noticed that the US life expectancy has declined for the first time in decades, prompting them to look at the causative factors such as inaccessible medical care, increasing drug addiction, increase rates of mental health issues, and poor socio-economic status. This led them to look at two more factors – race and education.

Researchers from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and the Yale School of Medicine looked at race and education, which are also linked to life expectancy, to determine which one is more important.

The study examined more than 5,000 black and white individuals in four cities. The participants were recruited almost three decades ago when they were in their early 20s. Among those, 395 died while they were in their 50s.

Study author Dr. Brita Roy from the Yale School of Medicine said, “These deaths are occurring in working-age people, often with children, before the age of 60.”

The researchers noted the death rates among the participants clearly showed a racial difference, with 6 percent of whites dying at an early age compared to 9 percent of blacks.

The study also found that there was a difference in the causes of death by race. For example, white men were significantly more likely to die from AIDS and black men by homicide. The researchers noted that the most common causes of death were cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In addition, the researchers found a notable difference between the death rates and education levels. They found that participants with less education were more likely to die than those who had higher education.

The results suggest that the level of education plays an important role in determining your life expectancy.

“These findings are powerful,” Dr. Roy said. “They suggest that improving equity in access to and quality of education is something tangible that can help reverse this troubling trend in the reduction of life expectancy among middle-aged adults.”