The more education people have, the more likely they are to report better health, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
People are living longer than ever. However, a growing gap exists between the lifespan of those with a college education and those without one. Furthermore, high school graduates who do not attend college are nearly twice as likely as college graduates to report that they are in less than good health.
In 2010, the Baltimore City Health Department's Health Disparities Report Card showed that city residents with no college education were 3.3 times more likely to die from heart disease than those who had a bachelor's degree. The report also showed that city residents without a bachelor's degree were over 1.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure than those who graduated from college.1
The American Heart Association reports that behaviors that contribute to heart disease, such as smoking, decrease as a person's educational attainment increases.2 The results of a 2010 Gallup Poll emphasize this point and also shows that individuals are less likely to smoke if they have higher educational attainment, regardless of their income:
Percent of Respondents who Smoke3
Annual Income Less than $24,000/year
Annual Income More than $90,000/year
Less than High School
Attaining higher education levels also can help patients take a more active role in the management of their disease. For example, they tend to ask deeper questions of their health care provider. This in turn leads to a better understanding of medical conditions, as well as prescribed treatments.
Baltimore City Head Start
Baltimore City Public Schools
Baltimore County Public Schools
Baltimore City Community College
Community College of Baltimore County
Coppin State University
Johns Hopkins University
Morgan State University
University of Maryland Systems
1Baltimore City Health Department, 2010 Baltimore City Health Disparities Report Card.
2American Heart Association, Rapid Access Journal Report, Sep. 7, 2010.
3http://www.gallup.com/poll/127532/income-education-levels-combine-predict-health-problems-aspx; April 28, 2010.