In addition to improved employment and increased income, researchers have also identified a positive correlation between education level and good health! Studies have found the following health benefits of being a lifelong learner:
- Lifespan: Numerous studies have shown an inverse relationship between years of education and mortality. In other words, the longer you learn, the longer you live! (Baker et al., 2011;Hummer & Lariscy, 2011; Meara et al., 2008; Strand et al., 2010).
- Brain Benefits: Research has shown that continuing your education into adulthood is related to improved verbal ability, memory, and fluency. Learning as you age helps keep those language skills sharp!
- Social Supports: Individuals with more education typically have stronger social networks. Having more support and social resources gives people a greater sense of control, reduces stress, and improves overall health (Baker et al., 2011; Jukes, Simmons, & Bundy, 2008; Liu et al., 2015; Miyamoto & Chevalier, 2010; Ross & Wu, 1995).
- Decision-Making: Education leads to increased brain development and self regulation. People with more education show greater resistance to risky behaviors such as smoking, gaining weight, and being physically inactive (Lantz et al., 1998).
- Lifestyle Health: More schooling is typically associated with increased employment in better paying jobs. The more money you earn, the more you are able to spend on safe housing, healthy food, better medical care and health insurance (Cutler & Lleras-Muney, 2006).
- Hatch, S. L., Feinstein, L., Link, B. G., Wadsworth, M. E., & Richards, M. (2007). The continuing benefits of education: adult education and midlife cognitive ability in the British 1946 birth cohort. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, 62(6), S404–S414. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/62.6.s404
- Viner, R. M., Allen, N. B., & Patton, G. C. (2017). Puberty, Developmental Processes, and Health Interventions. In D. Bundy (Eds.) et. al., Child and Adolescent Health and Development. (3rd ed.). The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank.