According to research, published on 8thJuly in the scientific magazine Plos One, people who receive higher education outlive those who do not. What’s more, it also found that failing to obtain a high education could be as detrimental – statistically – to a person’s life as smoking cigarettes.
The study was led by professors and research associates from the University of Colorado-Denver, New York University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and states that education is a more effective indicator than economic wealth or employment in evaluating the relationship between life expectancy and socio-economic factors, given that culture and academic preparation are factors that tend to remain constant – or grow – over time.
According to Virginia Chang, associate professor of Public Health at the NYU and one of the authors of the study, our level of education affects our access to information and our ability to understand it. People with higher education, Chang says, tend to have more self-belief and to better navigate the health care system, which enables them to receive more social support.
As a result, the mortality rate is lower among people with higher education than among people with a lower education.
This should be an incentive to improve our performance in the field of education, and especially in higher education. Our targets for 2020, set by the OECD, are to achieve 26-27% of graduates in terms of the population, whereas Ireland will reach 60% and the countries who will comply with the OECD goals will attain 40%. This target should be achieved as soon as possible in order to stimulate the economic growth of our country, and to improve our general level of public health, as the American research suggests.