Education Helps Us Live Longer

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Education Helps Us Live Longer

Looking to add more years to your life? Surprisingly, research suggests that education might be the key. While we often associate longevity with habits like eating well, sufficient sleep, and stress reduction, a recent study in the Lancet Public Health emphasizes the profound impact of education on life expectancy.

Delving into data from numerous studies spanning 59 countries, researchers explored the correlation between education and mortality. The results were striking—each additional year of education was linked to a 2% reduction in mortality. To put it in perspective, completing high school and college, and accumulating about 18 years of schooling, translated to a remarkably 34% lower risk of premature death compared to those with less education.

The protective effect of education against early mortality was comparable to meeting the recommended daily intake of vegetables. Conversely, minimal schooling increased mortality rates akin to the impact of heavy alcohol consumption or a decade of smoking ten cigarettes a day, as highlighted by Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine and co-author of the study.

Contrary to expectations, the study discovered that the positive impact of each year of education did not diminish. In contrast to previous theories suggesting a plateau effect after a certain point, the researchers found that “education keeps on giving,” with every additional year contributing to a continued reduction in mortality risk.

The study, a comprehensive meta-analysis amalgamating data from 600 different studies, considered factors such as age, gender, and a country’s economic status. Surprisingly, the link between higher education and reduced mortality proved to be universal across these variables.

While the degree of benefit varied slightly by age, with younger individuals experiencing a more pronounced reduction in mortality, the study’s lead author, Dr. Gakidou, emphasized that the impact of education persisted across all age groups. The findings underscore the need for increased social investments in global education to combat persistent inequalities that contribute to premature deaths.

As co-author Mirza Balaj explains, “More education leads to better employment and higher income, better access to healthcare, and helps us take care of our own health. Highly educated people also tend to develop a larger set of social and psychological resources that contribute to their health and the length of their lives.” In essence, the research advocates for a global commitment to improving access to quality education, not just as an intellectual pursuit but as a fundamental contributor to a healthier and longer life.

India and Education

In a country with one of the highest populations globally, and boasting one of the largest youth demographics, the significance of education takes center stage for transformative change. The findings from the study highlighting the profound impact of education on life expectancy echo far beyond individual well-being, resonating with broader societal and economic implications.

India, with its diverse and dynamic population, stands at a crucial juncture where investing in education is not just a choice but a necessity. Education catalyzes social and economic development, creating a ripple effect that positively influences employment rates, healthcare access, and overall societal well-being. The revelation of the study that the benefits of education persist throughout the life of a person emphasizes the enduring impact that a well-educated population can have on the trajectory of the nation.

Furthermore, with a large youth population, India possesses a demographic advantage that can be harnessed through strategic educational investments. Providing quality education equips the youth with the tools to innovate, contribute to economic growth, and participate meaningfully in civic life. The result is a more resilient and empowered society that can navigate the challenges of the present and future.

Smile Foundation through its education initiative, Mission Education is making sure that children of low-income households all across India get a quality education so that education can open up possible futures for them, futures in which they are free of poverty and can live lives without constant worry for making three meals or even better, afford at least some of the luxuries that they dreamed of.

You can ensure that their education doesn’t stop, you can become an important part of changing their lives by making a thoughtful contribution here!

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