Friday, February 22, 2013

College: Good for Your Health

Ask your classmates why they've come to college and you'll probably hear the words "to get a better job" over and over.  And why not?  There's a definite link between education and earning power.  While a college degree won't guarantee you'll be a millionaire, college does indeed pay off in the dollars and cents department. 

But that's not the only benefit of higher education.  Earning a college degree can also be good for your health.   

A recent study by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that people with college degrees were less likely to be overweight than non-college graduates.  It also found that kids whose parents held college degrees were less likely to be obese as well.

In addition, the study noted that people with more education have a greater life expectancy.  A person holding a bachelor's degree, for example, could be expected to live (on the average) nine years longer than a high school dropout. 

The reasons for these differences?  Several, probably.  But one is that college often makes people more health conscious, which in turn leads to healthier choices. 

"Highly educated people tend to have healthier behaviors, avoid unhealthy ones and have more access to medical care when they need it," wrote Amy Bernstein, a health researcher and the CDC study's lead author.  "All of these factors are associated with better health." 

Of course, just attending college--or even graduating--is no guarantee of better health.  Life's about choices, after all.  College can give you information and insights, but it can't dictate behavior. 

That's where you come in.

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