Does Education Boost Health?

An examination of Swedish health and educational records suggests that more schooling results in healthier adults.

By | May 15, 2012

Wikimedia Commons, strngwrldfrwl from Japan


An extra year in school may have significant health effects, according to a new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Swedish children enrolled in an extra year of school had lower rates of mortality later in life.

After World War II, Sweden instituted educational reforms, including increasing the mandatory schooling time. But before instituting this change nation-wide, the government directed a controlled study between 1949 and 1962. Some districts adopted a 9 year program while some continued to school children for 8 years. When the 9 year program’s benefits became clear, such as more children qualifying for secondary school, it was adopted country-wide in 1962.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, tested whether the extra year had an effect on health outcomes by looking at death records from 1961 and 2007. They found that the extra year correlated with a lower risk of dying after mid-life (between 40 and 70). Because the reforms were designed to test the effect of differing educations, the study “supports the view that education has a causal role in health,” Marcus Richards, a cognitive epidemiologist at University College London, told Nature.

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Avatar of: David


Posts: 1457

May 15, 2012

The positive relationship between education and health has been known for a very long time. My colleagues and I made our first presentation on the subject in 2002 and we published a comprehensive argument for the idea that education causes health in 2005 (Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Vol. 30, No.6, 2005). Ross and Mirowsky, Lleras-Muny and others have made major contributions to this area of research for at least 20 years. It is good to see researchers making good use of the detailed public records available in Sweden to strengthen the case.

Avatar of: Anne Breen

Anne Breen

Posts: 1457

May 20, 2012

Not just one more year of education in school, reading skills are so fundamental. A love of reading and a life long interest in learning new things is essential.  A person must be self motivated enough to maintain an active interest in other people and seek new knowledge. Education is key to mastering methods of organizing and planning for homeostasis and creating a better balanced future for all by reducing, reusing and recycling our natural and man made resources to find a sustainable balance for all human life and the life of the planet

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