Better Educated People Tend to be Healthier
Education is a crucial matter for every individual in the world as it is linked to the holistic success of an individual. The better educated an individual or community is, the more likely they are to lead a fulfilled life and achieve their full potential. However, while education can be quantified by a person’s success both academically and careerwise, other factors distinguish educated people from ignorant ones. Education is often considered to be the fuel that guides an individual’s life. For instance, in the modern, technology-driven world, education regarding the operation of computers, as well as other appliances and machinery, is essential. All aspects of an individual’s life are either directly or indirectly linked to education, and health is one major aspect that can be greatly impacted by how well educated a person is (Cutler and Lleras-Muney 233). Educated people benefit from a number of factors that influence their decision-making when it comes to their health. They also reap the benefits of a wider variety of healthcare options. In looking at these factors, we will see that it cannot be denied that more educated people tend to be healthier compared to less well educated individuals.
Better educated individuals tend to have a higher income due to their increased chances of landing better jobs that have better pay. Higher income translates to having the necessary resources to access and afford the best healthcare on offer. In the current economy, a person with a higher level of education stands a better chance of getting a better job that offers an attractive compensation plan as well as ample health benefits. More educated people also have a better chance of getting a job that offers paid leave and a bonus retirement package that allows the person to afford long-term healthcare (Hahn and Truman 660). In modern society, college graduates tend to earn more than twice the amount of high school drop-outs. Additionally, those who hold postgraduate degrees tend to have better jobs, earn more money and get promotions more quickly and more frequently than those with lower education levels. Therefore, education and health are directly related on a number of levels, lending empirical support to the idea that better education leads to better health.
Education also has a compelling indirect relationship on health. To see these effects, one must examine the lifestyle of those living in high-income households, a condition more common to those with more education. First and foremost, a person with a high income can afford to buy healthier foods, which is crucial to leading a healthy life. According to an article on the New York Times titled “A High Price for Healthy Food” by the author Parker-Pope Tara, the less money one has, the more likely they are to purchase high-calorie foods that are to not necessarily good for one’s health (Parker-Pope). Moreover, fruits and vegetables, which have valuable health benefits, have become a luxury, as they tend to be more expensive. Organic foods, which have been proved to offer more nutritional benefits as compared to genetically modified products, have also become expensive, and only high-income earners can afford to purchase them. More affluent people tend to avoid fast food restaurants, which are cheaper, and instead choose to dine in more expensive restaurants that are usually more health conscious. In doing so, they benefit from better nutritional options and better health in the long run. Proper nutrition is a very crucial aspect of leading a healthy life. Thus, education, which leads to better jobs and higher income, facilitates the availability and affordability of healthy, nutritions meal options.
To further examine the direct benefits of education on an individual’s health, we must look at the opportunities that are offered to better educated people. A more educated person with a better job is entitled to benefits that come with the job title or position. Most lucrative jobs offer an excellent health insurance plan for the employee and their family, ensuring that they are able to take proper care of themselves with the assistance of medical professionals. Also, with a decent income, one has the option to buy a good insurance plan that comes with check-ups and affordable care. Seeing a doctor regularly can motivate a person to lead a more healthful life. Additionally, with a good insurance plan, one has the option to go to a hospital as soon as they feel unwell. They do not have to wait until they are very sick to seek treatment or avoid consulting a physician for fear that they will be unable to afford to pay their medical bills. Doctors have stressed the importance of early diagnosis of most diseases in order to ensure effective treatment, and people without insurance are likely to wait to go to the hospital until they feel they have no choice. Moreover, high-income people can afford a healthier lifestyle that includes such things as exercising and paying for a gym membership or a nutritionist. These choices ensure that they will live a healthier, more holistic life. Well-paying jobs have retirement benefits which guarantee that the employee will be able to afford decent healthcare for themselves and their families even when they are no longer able to work.
Conversely, people with a low level of education tend to take jobs that do not necessarily pay attention to working conditions or the risks involved with doing the work. Low levels of education also translate to people having to settle for the jobs that educated people do not want, which do not offer benefits or health insurance, making them more susceptible to health issues. For instance, high school dropouts are forced to take up jobs that have high health risks like working at night, in the cold, at construction sites and other jobs that could expose them to dangerous working conditions. Working in a high-risk environment for a low wage can cause both physical and psychological health problems, which lead to most people working under such conditions having a lowered life expectancy. Additionally, according to an article in the New York Times titled “A High Price for Healthy Food” a Dr. Drewnowski maintains that if a person has $3 to feed himself, his choices tend toward cheaper food like junk and fast foods, which give the most calories (Parker-Pope). Therefore, it is very likely that low-income people maintain themselves with high-calorie foods, which are cheap but can cause many health issues. These issues include but are not limited to obesity and high cholesterol levels. The article further shows that a 2000-calorie diet only costs $3.52 a day if it consists entirely of junk food, whereas a diet of low-energy-dense foods costs 36.32 a day (Parker-Pope). From the statistics above it is clear that even though low-income people may be able to afford three meals a day, much of it is junk food and it tends to increase their chances of suffering from health conditions like obesity. Moreover, they are more susceptible to other nutritionally-caused chronic health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels, all of which affect not only the quality of life but also the ability to get a better job. This in turn affects a person’s chance of acquiring a decent health insurance plan, which further deteriorates their health conditions. The lack of proper health insurance and affordable medical care further contributes to the overall poor health of the people that have both low income and lesser education.
There is a direct relationship between income, health, and living environment, and life expectancy. Better educated people generally have better jobs and a higher income, which enables them to afford decent homes in good neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the less educated are left with no option but to live in less than ideal housing. To have a healthy living situation, one ought to live in a comfortable environment with security and the necessary amenities, including proper climate control and clean water. In major cities and towns, the cost of living is very high, and the chances of getting affordable housing with the necessary amenities are lower if one has low income. People with less education tend to earn lower salaries, and as such, they cannot afford the luxury of living in a good neighborhood. In most cases, they live in old neighborhoods that may be unsafe, a fact which can scare off potential investors. These neighborhoods may even be vulnerable to gang activity. (VCU-Center on Society and Health). Therefore, it is likely that inhabitants do not have easy access to convenient stores and supermarkets that sell fresh foods, and as such they may end up eating more convenient junk and frozen foods, which are very unhealthy. The adverse living conditions have several problems that negatively affect the health of the people living in them. There may be a shortage of or inadequate access to sanitary services like sewer and waters systems, forcing residents to improvise essential amenities like bathrooms. In some areas inhabited by low-income people, it is common to find one bathroom shared by a large number of people, which increases the risk of transmitting communicable diseases. The poor living conditions could also mean a shortage of clean water. The water might, for instance, have been exposed to rusty pipes, which could expose the people to disease-causing toxins. Additionally, these types of living conditions pose a higher than normal risk of contracting respiratory illnesses either caused by the damp and old buildings or cold due to lack of a proper heating system. For instance, people who live in cold and poor areas may have to burn wood or charcoal at home to warm themselves. However, doing so causes them to breathe in a high concentration of indoor air pollutants, which can cause respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic bronchitis. This conditions are manageable but reduce the quality of life of the affected people. Moreover, low-income neighborhoods do not have parks or pavement that could encourage people living in them to exercise, jog or take walks, any of which would contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Not only that, most low-income neighborhoods have higher crime rates, increasing the levels of psychological trauma and stress of their citizens. This sort of stress can, in turn, affect a person’s mental health.
Education, both in and out of the classroom, helps build and foster skills that are crucial throughout a person’s life. Some of the social and psychological skills that one acquires in schools can be credited for establishing healthier habits. For instance, a more educated person is likely to develop skills such as conscientiousness, perseverance, and a sense of personal control. All of these qualities have an impact on the manner in which the person handles their health and that of their loved ones. An educated person is likely to have better decision-making abilities when it comes to their health. For example, they are likely to go to the hospital as soon as they are unwell, without procrastinating or ignoring the issue. Addressing health problems promptly aids in the early diagnosis and treatment of a disease. Secondly, a more educated person can land a job that has flexible working hours and less stress, reducing their chances of mental illness, which has become a menace in modern times. On the other hand, people with lower education are more susceptible to mental illnesses and may lack the necessary traits and skills to deal with crucial health decisions (Hernández-Murillo and Martinek). Low education levels, as has been noted, lead to low paying jobs. These jobs can cause a lot of strain and hopelessness among employees and as such have the propensity to cause psychological health conditions like stress, depression, and mental breakdown. Additionally, most people with low education tend to suffer from emotional deficiencies like the lack of perseverance and self-control, both of which negatively affect general health and well being. This is especially true when a person cannot restrain themselves from partaking in an unhealthy habit or commit to a healthy regimen. Therefore, low levels of education contribute to an array of social and psychological disadvantages that have a lasting negative effect on mental and physical health.
An educated person tends to be invested in their own well being, as they would like to live a long and fulfilled life. A less educated individual, however, is more focused on the present than on the future, and their primal purpose may be simply to survive by any means necessary. Adults with higher levels of education are less likely to indulge in risky behavior that could jeopardize their health as compared to the less educated. Education offers opportunities to learn about health and the risks involved with different actions from a formative age and to advance that knowledge as one pursues higher learning. For instance, better-educated adults are more likely to indulge in a healthy lifestyle like exercising regularly, either at the gym, jogging or walking to places (Hernández-Murillo and Martinek). They are more likely to take up and adhere to healthy habits like jogging, walking or cycling instead of driving, yoga, and working out at the gym. Any of these habits can help to ensure that they are physically fit, which reduces their chances of developing disease. Conversely, less educated people may look at the time spent to exercise and get their bodies physically fit as a waste of time that could better be spent making money or resting from their tedious or strenuous jobs. Additionally, they could be willing to exercise but lack the financial and physical access to facilities like gyms and safe parks. More educated people are also more likely to avoid indulging in unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking, as they are well-informed of the dangers and consequences of such habits. They are able to remain healthy and avoid the risks of diseases like lung and liver cancer caused by the abuse and prolonged use of alcohol and other drugs. On the other hand, less educated people experience financial constraints that could cause hopelessness, a condition which seems to be temporarily fixed by the use and abuse of drugs or alcohol. These substances can lead to addiction and other long-term illnesses. Also, educated people are less likely to indulge in activities like unsafe sex, knowing the dangers of doing so. Meanwhile, less educated people are at greater risk of having unprotected sex. There is also the risk of prostitution, which serves as a potential source of income but is extremely unsafe and exposes participants to a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases, including chronic conditions that have to be managed for the rest of the individual’s life.
Education gives an individual unlimited access to information on a wide range of topics including health and various aspects of ensuring one lives a healthy life. The more educated a person is, the more likely they are to access information that makes sure that the quality of their life is improved. Educated people know how to inform themselves about and engage in preventative practices, rather than merely curative ones, regarding their health and that of their loved ones. They are able to understand the importance of vaccinations and immunizations for preventable diseases instead of waiting to treat the disease once they fall ill (VCU-Center on Society and Health). Access to information is also what encourages an individual to make drastic life changes to avoid the risk of getting a particular disease. For instance, it is easier for an educated person to start exercising to prevent themselves from suffering from heart diseases at an early age than to begin exercising later in life to reverse the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. While most people do not like having regular medical checkups, educated adults are likely to know the importance of regular screening. They are also likely to undertake the tests because they may have a better health insurance plan that stipulates as a pre-requisite annual or biannual checks for all beneficiaries. The check-ups ensure that individuals are healthy and any possible illnesses are preempted, and early diagnosis is made. On the other hand, uneducated people may be ignorant of the importance of tests, believing that if they feel and appear physically fit then nothing is wrong. In most cases, this leads to delayed diagnosis, preventable chronic diseases, and untimely deaths. Furthermore, the ability to access and interpret information is critical in being able to manage chronic conditions; educated adults are more likely to be informed about new drugs or complicated medical procedures that they require. Educated patients may be better able to understand their health needs, follow instructions, advocate for themselves and their families, and effectively communicate with health providers (Cutler and Lleras-Muney 240). Finally, access to information enables a parent to pass the knowledge to his or her children, creating a new generation of healthy individuals.
In conclusion, education is directly linked to whether a person can achieve and maintain good health. As this paper shows, more educated people are healthier than their less educated counterparts. More educated people are able to get better jobs, earn higher incomes and afford healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Moreover, educated people can afford good insurance plans and homes in safe environments with access to all the essential amenities. More educated people have the opportunity to make better life choices and adopt a healthy lifestyle that holistically improves the quality of their lives. They have the knowledge needed to resist indulging in unhealthy practices and can pass their wisdom onto their children to ensure good health in the next generation. Thus, as mentioned above, education and health are related, and the more educated a person is the healthier they tend to be.
Cutler, David and Adriana Lleras-Muney. “Education and Health.” Encyclopedia of Health Economics, 2014, pp. 232-245.
Hahn, Robert and Benedict Truman. “Education Improves Public Health and Promotes Health Equity.” International Journal of Health Services : Planning, Administration, Evaluation, vol. 45, no.4, 2015, pp. 657-678.
Hernández-Murillo, Ruben, and Christopher Martinek. “Which Came First—Better Education or Better Health?” The Regional Economist, 2011, pp. 1.
Parker-Pope, Tara. “A High Price for Healthy Food.” New York Times, 5 December 2007,
<https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/a-high-price-for-healthy-food/>. Accessed 29 November 2017
VCU-Center on Society and Health. “Why Education Matters to Health: Exploring the Causes.” Virginia Commonwealth University, 13 February 2015, <https://societyhealth.vcu.edu/work/the-projects/why-education-matters-to-health-exploring-the-causes.html>. Accessed 29 November 2017
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