If you have been contemplating going back to school to get a degree, this might convince you: A study by the Harvard School of Medicine has shown people with a better education live longer.
"Between the 1980s and 2000, life expectancy increases occurred nearly exclusively among high-education groups," the study says.
While life expectancy for people with a high school degree or less did not change between 1990 and 2000, the better-educated gained more than 1.5 years over the same period, the study shows.
"A 25-year-old with a high school degree in 1990 could expect to live another 50 years, or for about 75 years," lead author Ellen Meara says.
"Looking at a similarly educated 25-year-old in 2000, you have the same expected life span," says Meara, assistant professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School. "For the better educated, you have an expected life span of 80 years in 1990, but it's 81.6 by the year 2000. So it's quite a big gain."
The reasons for such longevity appear to be that more educated people have better access to both information about disease and medical advances.
"As information about how to live longer, healthier lives become available and technologies become available to help you do things like quit smoking or lead a less sedentary lifestyle, we have to some extent figured out successful ways to do this," Meara says.
Meara says researchers also wanted to "remind people: If you hear that life-expectancy is lengthening and it's getting better, it's important to remember that isn't the case for everyone."
(Agencies via China Daily March 19, 2008)