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Why Education Matters to Health

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

Much has been said about the connection between good health and education. Good health is critical to ensuring that students can make the most of their educational opportunities.  A foundation of good nutrition and physical activity enriches students’ readiness to learn. And schools play a central role in creating those optimal conditions of health.

But more recently, research has turned to examining the degree to which education supports a lifetime of good health.

A recent report put forth by Virginia Commonwealth University, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, uncovers the complex links between educational opportunities and the opportunity for people to live longer, healthier lives. The results are not surprising, but the report serves to underscore how closely tied education is “to income and to the skills and opportunities people have to lead healthy lives in their communities.”

The connections between education and health are summarized into three main take-aways:

  • Education can create opportunities for better health
  • Poor health can put educational attainment at risk 
(reverse causality)
  • Conditions throughout people’s lives—beginning in early childhood—can affect both health and education

Visit Virginia Commonwealth University’s website for a complete synopsis of the report.

Download the full report, Why Education Matters to Health: Exploring the Causes.

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