What’s the Secret to a Long, Healthy Life? Staying in School, a Study Finds

Keeping children in school could literally lengthen their lives as adults, according to a massive international research analysis published this week in the journal The Lancet Public Health.

An international team of researchers analyzed more than 40 years of data on adult mortality from more than 600 studies in 59 countries, including the United States. They controlled for adults’ age, sex, and marital status, as well as their socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds.

For each additional year of schooling, mortality for adults younger than 50 fell by nearly 3 percent, with smaller but still significant benefits for older adults, too.

Completing 18 years of education—the equivalent of K-12 plus a four-year college degree—cut adult mortality by 34 percent. That’s similar to the level of health protection linked to eating a healthy, vegetable-heavy diet and getting plenty of exercise.

“It also is worth keeping in mind that we’re looking across all countries, and there are many countries in the world where completion of primary school is not really to be taken for granted,” said Emmanuela Gakidou, a study author and a professor of health-metrics sciences and a co-founder of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. “So, the evidence that we have available suggests that every single year of schooling helps.”

Read more here.


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