High School Diplomas Save Lives

From the WebMD Archives

Jan. 7, 2002 -- Does having more money mean you'll live longer? Some studies have suggested so, but a new study published in the Jan. 5 issue ofthe British Medical Journal shows that a high school education might be the actual lifesaver.

A scientist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock wanted to see if it's money or education that helps people live longer, healthier lives.

Looking at U.S. statistics for the years 1989 and 1990, Andreas Muller found that as the number of high school dropouts went up, the death rate also increased.

The next step was to figure out if the rise in deaths was actually due to lack of education or the fact that these people may make less money.

Muller found that although having less money may have had a small effect on how long you might live, education made a much bigger impact.

Lacking a high school diploma appears to affect health and life expectancy in several ways.

  • Makes it much more difficult to obtain a job that provides health insurance
  • More likely to have a job with a high risk of work-related injury
  • More likely to be involved in risky behaviors, such as smoking

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