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Higher education may boost longevity

By PressTV | 16 May 2012

Maybe spending another year behind the school desk would become more interesting if we know that those with a higher education may also have a higher length of life.

A comprehensive national study in Sweden revealed that students who were exposed to nine years of education rather than eight had a lower mortality rate after age 40.

The research involving 1.2 million people also disclosed that people with an additional year of education also had lower mortality from causes known to be related to education and awareness such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The new investigation used data of a research conducted after Second World War. The primary study was carried out from 1949 to 1962 when Sweden decided to reform and its education systems to boost development and economic strength.

To compare the benefits of the new system and the old shorter one, all 1.2 million children in the Swedish education system were set on one of the two paths including either 9 or 8 years of compulsory study, explained co-author Anton Lager.

The findings showed such significant educational benefits of the new system that the government decided in 1962 to introduce the new method for all children.

However, a new study led by Lager and Jenny Torssander of Stockholm University showed that the reform had further benefits for the Swedish people, according to the report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

After looking at the Swedish death records between 1961 and 2007 the scientists discovered that children educated in the reformed system had a reduced risk of dying between the ages of 40 and 70, particularly from cancer, ischemic heart disease and accidents.

The authors highlighted that the reason for lower mortality is not knowledge in and of itself but longer education helped students develop a different attitude about themselves.

“If your life is a little better, you take a little better care of yourself. If you make a little more income, have a job with a little more flexibility, more control of time, then maybe you use less tobacco and alcohol,” Lager suggested.



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