Science Daily released an article today which cites clear scientific evidence showing that the better educated we are, the longer we tend to live. The study, which was conducted by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzed data from more than 3.5 million deaths occurring between 1993 and 2001. Science Daily reports that the study concluded; "People with less education have fewer financial resources, less access to health insurance or stable employment, and less health literacy." It would seem that not only do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but the poor get deader sooner also.
The greatest percentage increase in death rates was reported to be within the social class, white women. In that group, death rates increased by 3.2% annually for women with less than 12 years of education. The group of white women with more than 12 years of education also had a statistically significant increase in death rates of 0.7%. Men on the other hand, have seen increases in longevity. Well educated black men showed the greatest improvement, with a 36% decreased death rate. Well-educated white men also posted longevity gains, with a 25% decreased death rate.
My street level analysis is this: The education factor speaks for itself. Well educated people have the knowledge and resources to take better care of themselves. This is not to minimize the fact that they also tend to do fewer stupid things. Women, as they increase their power, leverage and exposure in this world, also increase their stresses and risks. Black men are beginning to make up for decades of high mortality rates, by working together to enhance their socio-economic well being overall. Men in general have begun to admit their vulnerability to the ravages of life and more of us are willing to admit when we need help.
As for us educated white guys living longer, well, that's probably just dumb luck.
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