Researchers from the University of Colorado have released a study detailing a link between mortality levels and lack of education. They even went further to say lack of education is as deadly as smoking, with illiteracy having contributed to the deaths of thousands of people worldwide.
The researchers analyzed population records from 1925 to 2010, and they assessed how education or lack of it contributed to the deaths of millions of people within the bracket age of 25-85; and to their amazement, they did find a link.
They discovered that over 10% of US adults aged 25-34 do not have a high school diploma, and another 28.5% have college education but do not progress to acquire a bachelor’s degree. To this end, the researchers found out that about 145,243 deaths that occurred in 2010 could have been avoided if folks who had high school certificates went on to earn a diploma.
They found that the stated number of deaths that could have been prevented is the same number of deaths avoided by smokers who quit.
According to Patrick Krueger, assistant professor at CU Denver’s Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences, about 110,068 deaths could also have been avoided if people with college diplomas went on to complete their bachelor degrees.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE by researchers from the University of Colorado, New York University, and the University of North Carolina.
“Education is important because it sets the stage for a person’s life,” Krueger said. “It is an early intervention that helps define a person’s career trajectory and income. Education allows people to improve their health in a lot of ways.”
He added that while state and federal health authorities have always campaigned for proper diets, smoking, excessive drinking, and the need for physical exercises, adding education to the pile might help prevent some deaths that occur from ignorance.
Krueger noted that while education is important to ensuring personal survival, lack of it would continue to contribute to preventable deaths.