The surprising study found that not only does it lower risk of mortality, but by as much as if a smoker quit smoking.
A joint study between 3 U.S. universities has found that there is an exceptionally strong link between higher education and a lower rate of death.
A study put together by a research team including scientists from the University of North Carolina, University of Colorado, and New York University came to the conclusion that those who decided to go back and get their high school diploma could lower their risk of death just as much as if a smoker quite smoking, according to a UPI report.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that those who either got a high school diploma or college degree have lower mortality rates, mostly due to things like having more income, an improved social status, better development of the brain, and an overall healthier lifestyle.
The medical community typically attempts to improve health by recommending that patients change their diet or quit smoking and drinking, but education may be a key part of that effort because of how it drives healthy behavior. Therefore, making sure Americans have a good education could be a health issue as well as a societal and economic one.
Researchers used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey, as well as others, and examined 1 million people between the years 1986 and 2006. They found that more than 145,000 deaths would have been postponed if people had gotten at least a GED. Another 110,000 deaths could have been avoided with a bachelor’s degree.
The study found that the drop was as significant as it would be for smokers who quit smoking.
A large education disparity was found between 1925 and 1945, and the deaths related to having not achieved a high school diploma was proportional among the races and between the genders.