A Link Between Higher Education And Heart Health

A Link Between Higher Education And Heart Health
Studies have often shown that highly educated people are more likely than less educated people to live healthy lifestyles. College graduates have an increased awareness of their health and are more likely to take preventative precautions against illness. Data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study recently published proves this point, concluding that less educated people are much more likely to be hospitalized for chronic heart failure.

Health education begins in American elementary schools, but students who fail to achieve any education beyond high school often have only the most basic knowledge of how the human body works and what a person should do to maintain his or her health. Because low education levels generally coincide with poverty, researchers have also linked heart disease to people of low economic status.

Researchers in Denmark conducted the study over the course of two decades and tracked the health of more than 18,000 Danish adults. They found that "people with more than 10 years of schooling were 39 percent less likely to be admitted to a hospital for chronic heart failure than those with the least education- fewer than eight years." Of the adults participating in the study, 18 percent of men and 15 percent of women with the lowest level of education experienced heart failure within the 20-year span. These numbers compare to only 13 percent of highly educated men and 6 percent of women. Results of the study in Denmark are published in the European Heart Journal.

While low educational achievement itself does not contribute to illness, less-educated people are more likely to make poor choices regarding their health. Studies show that college graduates are more likely to avoid cigarettes and alcohol, to eat healthier foods, and to exercise more. Each of these factors contributes to a person's overall health, and in particular, impacts their heart health. In addition, highly educated people are more likely to be aware of warning signs which indicate declining health and to seek early treatment for conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes which can lead to heart disease.

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