Higher Education Has Health Benefits, Study Claims

Going to college to earn an advanced degree could keep you healthier in the long run, according to a new study that had discovered a link between education and lower blood pressure.

The research, published Sunday in the journal BMC Public Health, used data from the Framingham Offspring Study to follow 3,890 subjects for a period of 30 years.

Over that time, they discovered that men who received at least 17 years of education had a lower average body mass index (BMI), smoked less and consumed fewer alcoholic drinks than their lesser-educated counterparts.

Likewise, they discovered that women who pursued post-secondary education had lower BMI and smoked less than women who did not receive more than 17 years of lifetime education.

Unlike their male counterparts, however, they did tend to drink more than those who did not spend a considerable amount of time attending college or university after high school.

In fact, according to an AFP report on Monday, the study discovered that “women with 17 years or more of education–a master’s degree or doctorate–had systolic blood pressure readings 3.26 millimeters of mercury lower than female high school drop-outs.”

“Men who went to graduate school had systolic blood pressure readings that were 2.26 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) lower than their counterparts who did not finish high school,” the authors of the study also discovered, according to the French news agency.

Those benefits “persisted, although at a lower level” even when other factors, such as smoking, drinking, and obesity, were taken into account, the AFP also reported.

According to the researchers, whose journal findings were reprinted in a BBC News article on Sunday, “Low educational attainment has been demonstrated to predispose individuals to high strain jobs, characterized by high levels of demand and low levels of control, which have been associated with elevated blood pressure.”

As study co-author and Brown University Professor Eric Loucks told the British news agency, “Women with less education are more likely to be experiencing depression, they are more likely to be single parents, more likely to be living in impoverished areas and more likely to be living below the poverty line.”

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