Study Finds Greater Education Lowers Heart Attack Risk
A new study published in the journal Heart finds that there is a strong correlation between education and heart attack risk. Those who have eight years of schooling or less are up to 31 percent more likely to suffer from a heart attack than those with some education beyond high school.
When looking at wealthy countries, low education was linked to a 61 percent higher risk of heart attack, while the corresponding figure across low to middle income countries was 25 percent.
“The stronger association with education is probably due to better knowledge about what causes heart disease and how to avoid these causes,” wrote lead researcher Dr. Annika Rosengren in an email to Reuters Health.
Researchers analyzed data on more than 12,000 heart attack sufferers and more than 14,000 healthy individuals. All participants in the study were the same age and came from 52 countries. The findings reveal that across all the countries, education was strongly connected to heart attack risk. The connection was even stronger in the wealthiest nations.
Studies conducted in the past focused on Western countries and found a link between higher socioeconomic status and lower heart disease risk. But socioeconomic status can be measured in a number of ways, ranging from education to family income. Honing in on education provided a stronger variable that contributes to heart attack risk.
The information in this study should be used to shape the curriculum of high schools in the U.S. The study finds that those with higher education are equipped with the facts necessary to live a healthier lifestyle. Why not provide better health classes in high schools to ensure that students don’t have to depend on a college education to understand their anatomy and how to keep themselves healthy? This isn’t meant to discourage teens from enrolling in college. But not every student is willing to pursue higher education.
The purpose of high school is to prepare students with the general education and fundamentals necessary to make the right choices in life. Health education is not stressed enough in grade school, and this could be a leading cause to the obesity epidemic America is facing right now. For instance, health education in no longer a requirement in the Texas school system. Is that acceptable?
The study further reinforces the importance of GE requirements in colleges. I remember being a journalism student at Cal State Northridge and complaining about the three units I was forced to take in kinesiology. But after I completed the units, I gained valuable knowledge on how to keep myself fit for the rest of my life.
Scientific studies are not conducted for fun. This information is meant to be applied in order to improve the health and education of Americans. Hopefully school boards across the U.S. will take that into consideration.
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