April 23, 2024

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New Study Highlights the Impact of Education on Mortality Rates

New Study Highlights the Impact of Education on Mortality Rates

New Study Highlights the Impact of Education on Mortality Rates

Higher education is linked to a lower risk of death and longer life expectancy, according to a recent study published in The Lancet Public Health by researchers from the Center for Global Health Inequalities Research (CHAIN) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The study found that for each additional year of education, the overall risk of death decreases by 1.9%. This correlation holds true regardless of age, gender, location, or social and demographic background. Researchers discovered that compared to those without education, individuals with six years of primary education have a 13.1% lower risk of death, those with 12 years of primary and secondary education have a 24.5% lower risk, and those with 18 years of education have a 34.3% lower risk.

While it’s widely known that factors like healthy diet, exercise, not smoking, moderate drinking, and regular sleep can extend lifespan, adherence to these behaviors is often limited. In contrast, the study suggests that simply attending school and receiving an education may be more readily accepted as a means to prolong life.

Over the past few decades, global all-cause mortality rates have continued to decline, thanks to advancements in science and technology, improvements in healthcare, poverty alleviation policies, infrastructure development, and importantly, increased access to education. Numerous studies have confirmed the positive correlation between education and lifespan, with education improving health through various pathways, including economic status, social status, cognition, and psychology. However, the extent of this impact has not been systematically quantified until now.

The study conducted by the research team involved searching several databases, including PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus, to collect individual-level data on education and mortality rates. Through systematic review and meta-analysis, the team identified 17,094 unique records, of which 603 met the analysis criteria. These records included data from 59 countries and 70 locations, resulting in a final dataset of 10,355 observations to assess the impact of education on all-cause adult mortality.

New Study Highlights the Impact of Education on Mortality Rates

The results showed a dose-dependent negative correlation between education level and all-cause adult mortality rates, with each additional year of education associated with an average 1.9% decrease in mortality risk. This effect was more pronounced in younger adults, with a 2.9% average decrease in mortality risk for every additional year of education among adults aged 18-49, compared to a 0.8% decrease for adults aged 70 and older.

Moreover, the team compared the impact of education with behaviors such as healthy diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption on all-cause mortality risk. Surprisingly, the benefits of 18 years of education were comparable to those of daily vegetable consumption, while the harm of not attending school was equivalent to consuming five or more alcoholic drinks per day for ten years or smoking ten cigarettes per day.

Additionally, the researchers found that the impact of education on lifespan did not significantly differ across countries at different stages of development. This suggests that more years of education are equally effective in both developed and developing countries.

Dr. Terje Andreas Eikemo, head of CHAIN and lead author of the paper, emphasized the importance of education in health and lifespan, stating that education itself is crucial and beneficial for health and longevity. This study has quantified the extent of these benefits, marking a significant step forward.

In conclusion, these studies confirm a dose-dependent negative correlation between education level and all-cause mortality risk, with each additional year of education associated with a 1.9% decrease in overall mortality risk. Furthermore, education level affects the survival rate of future generations, with maternal education being particularly important. The life-extending effects of education are not difficult to explain, as higher education leads to more comprehensive development, better job opportunities, higher income, improved living conditions, and better healthcare access, all of which contribute to better health and longer life. Moreover, individuals with higher education tend to develop more social and psychological resources, which also benefit health and longevity.

Therefore, promoting educational equity is crucial, as narrowing the education gap means narrowing the mortality rate gap. To reduce mortality rate inequalities, continuous efforts are needed to promote equal educational opportunities, which can have a positive impact on the health of populations worldwide.

New Study Highlights the Impact of Education on Mortality Rates


1. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(23)00306-7
2. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2022-073749
3. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00534-1

(source:internet, reference only)

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