07 February 2012

Educated people have better health

 We knew that Health and income are in close relation but what about Education?
Education is associated with a number of desirable aspects in life. Recent studies have shown that happiness or life satisfaction is positively determined by health, a stable job, and a satisfying family life. Diseases and illnesses, unemployment, divorce and criminal behavior are strong determinants of depressions and negative attitudes toward life. Many of the aspects that make people unhappy are more prevalent among the lower educated than among the higher educated. Unemployment rates are generally much higher among lower educated workers than among the higher educated. Lower educated people experience more health problems and have a shorted life expectancy than higher educated. Lower educated people are more likely to smoke, engage in excessive alcohol consumption and to be overweight and obese. Lower educated people commit violent crimes more frequently. Other forms of criminal behavior are also more prevalent among lower educated people. Only tax fraud is committed more frequently by higher educated people .
Education contributes to lower unemployment rates, less criminal behavior and less unhealthy behavior. There appear to be large benefits – both for individuals and for society – attached to education. Nevertheless, these social benefits of education play only a minor role in policy-making. The importance of good education seems to be underestimated. During the past decade in most western countries, public expenditures on health care and law enforcement have increased more than public expenditures on education.
In a sense, western countries try to remedy the negative effects and social costs of a relatively low educated population by providing unemployment benefits, law enforcement through policing and higher sentencing, and by increasing health care budgets to counter the detrimental effects of unhealthy behavior. More and better education could yield savings in health care, law enforcement and unemployment benefits. This makes that the relation between education and health has important implications for public policy. Education and health policies do not have an effect within their own domain, but that there are large costs and benefits associated with these policies. This entails that these policies should not be looked upon in isolation, but that rather a more comprehensive or integrated policy approach to education and health is called for.

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