Longevity is tied to a bunch of intuitive factors — a healthy diet (perhaps free of egg yolks), not smoking, regular exercise and sufficient sleep — but occasionally, a less intuitive one is teased out of research, such as a recent study showing education and lifespan seem to be linked.
It’s not only been shown that education and lifespan are related, but researchers have actually expressed surprise at just how much one seems to affect the other.
Findings were published recently in the journal Health Affairs, and in it, researchers explain that the connection between amount of education and years added to lifespan runs deeply:
“The lifelong relationships of education and its correlates with health and longevity are striking… Education exerts its direct beneficial effects on health through the adoption of healthier lifestyles, better ability to cope with stress, and more effective management of chronic diseases. However, the indirect effects of education through access to more privileged social position, better-paying jobs, and higher income are also profound.”
When crunched, the data demonstrating a link between longevity and education seemed to show some significant differences when class and even more strikingly, race, were factored into the equation. And while lifespans are overall increasing even when adjusting for those factors, among the undereducated, they remain at levels seen four decades ago.
So strong is the link observed between education and longevity that researchers say health and lifestyle factors alone will not create the optimal public health initiatives to boost lifespan across the board. Based on the data, experts recommend policy makers “implement educational enhancements at young, middle, and older ages for people of all races, to reduce the large gap in health and longevity that persists today.”