Lack Of Education Is As Deadly As Smoking, Study Finds

Lack Of Education Is As Deadly As Smoking, Study Finds

A study undertaken by researchers at the University of Colorado, NYU, and UNC Chapel Hill has unearthed a disturbing statistic: a person’s level of education correlates to his risk of disease and early death.

The study posited that health policies often focus on a person’s diet, as well as their smoking and drinking habits, when discussing health risks. However, one factor has consistently been ignored when concerning people’s overall risk of death: their education level. According to Virginia Chang, associate professor of public health at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and College of Global Public Health, “Education — which is a more fundamental, upstream driver of health behaviors and disparities — should also be a key element of U.S. health policy.”


Researchers hypothesized that a higher level of education would lead to a lower risk of lifestyle-related diseases and untimely deaths. The reasoning behind this factored in a combination of higher income and social status, access to health care, and overall healthier behaviors and lifestyle.

The study involved analyzing the lives of people born in 1925, 1935, and 1945. Specifically, their cause of death was noted alongside their level of education. Researchers grouped together people who had not graduated high school, those who had some college experience, and those who had graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree.


The results were astounding: An estimated 145,243 lives could have possibly been prolonged had they completed high school earlier in life. Furthermore, 110,068 other lives could have been positively affected if people who attended college had not dropped out. Though these numbers may seem like conjecture, the study showed a strong enough correlation to be considered causal.

It’s also worth noting that mortality rates were only slightly affected from those who did not complete high school to those who did (without any further education). However, the difference between death rates of those with no high school diploma and those who graduated college showed an incredible discrepancy.


Of course, none of this is suggesting that those who complete high school or college magically have a better chance of living longer than those who do not. However, higher education levels certainly lead to more informed life choices and decisions. Many high school dropouts will miss out on highly important lessons regarding the importance of abstaining from tobacco and alcohol, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising well. When such is the case, ignorance certainly isn’t bliss.

One piece of information worth noting is that the causes of a person’s death also correlated to their education level. While various types of cancer can end up affecting all people regardless of lifestyle, and therefore were not a factor specific to one demographic in the study, cardiovascular diseases were shown to affect the lesser-educated population in much higher numbers. Obviously, this lifestyle-related disease was a contributing factor to the early deaths recorded in lesser-educated individuals.


This research study was undertaken as part of the Healthy People 2020 initiative. The initiative aims to decrease the human mortality rate by increasing access to education, incentives to continue education, and provide assistance to those who exhibit dangerous lifestyle choices.

Unfortunately, as I said before, it’s not enough to educate the public on what’s good and bad for them. I doubt any smoker is in denial of the negative impact tobacco has on their lives, as well as the lives of their loved ones. The same goes for people who eat McDonald’s every other night. They know it’s not the best thing for them, but they simultaneously put off that date with the gym until “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” Along with properly educating our citizens about the detriments of an unhealthy lifestyle, we also need to change the overarching problems in our country that exacerbate these unhealthy lifestyles. But that’s a whole different article altogether.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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9 Harsh But True Illustrations that Show Our Changed Society

9 Harsh But True Illustrations that Show Our Changed Society

Let’s face it.  We are living in a digital age, and there is absolutely no turning back. One of the biggest influences on society these days is social media. It affects us both positively and negatively. Social media was originally designed for people to share interesting facets of their lives with their friends, but it has become so much more than what it intended to be. It is now a medium for information to pass around the globe. In many cases, people first learn about current events through Twitter or Facebook before hearing about them from conventional news sources.

We also rely on technology for nearly everything we do. People these days seem as if they can’t go anywhere or do anything without their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. They need to be in constant contact with others via electronic devices.

However, there is also a downside to be too connected to social media and electronic devices. We are too dependent on them, which make us oblivious to what we are doing to ourselves. Being too connected can have a negative effect on our lives and the society as a whole. Here are 9 true illustrations that show how our society is negatively impacted because of the use of technology.

1. Facebook is eating away at your time.

Facebook is eating away your time

    How much time do you usually spend each day on Facebook or other social networking sites? Is it hindering your productivity? Do you find yourself wasting time to a point where you don’t even know where it goes? If the answer is yes, Facebook might have eaten away at your time.


    2. We’ve become “Likeaholics.”


      When you are posting something on Facebook, are you doing it just to see how many of your friends will give it the proverbial thumbs up? This illustration shows that some people are treating “Likes” on Facebook as if it was a drug they needed to inject into their bloodstreams.

      3. Our electronics have priority over our lives.


        Given a choice between your dying phone battery or you dying, which will you choose? In this case, the man in this illustration chose to charge his phone over to sustain his own life. As a society, we need to be more careful of our priorities.


        4. Families aren’t spending quality time together.

        mother baking

          Here is a mother making holiday cookies, but what are the kids doing? They are not making cookies with their mother. Instead, every one of them has their faces buried in their own electronic devices. Television used to be what parents use to babysit their kids. Now, it’s a tablet, phone, laptop or video game that does the job.

          5.  We’d rather record someone than help them.


            A lot is happening in this illustration. A black man is drowning and asking for help. One person has a gun pointed at him. The other person has their iPhone pointed at him and is recording the scene, but is not interested to help this man.


            6. Society is sleeping, it’s sleeping its life away.

            sleeping your life away

              Time is money. After we have wasted the long period of time on social media, we are losing the most valuable currency we have – our time in this world.

              7.  Despite all the technology we have, we still want what someone else has.

              wanting what someone else is having

                There’s an old saying that goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” This illustration shows that despite all that we have, we are still not satisfied with our lives.


                8. Sensationalism still sells.

                free expression

                  With the information overload that exists today, the media still looks for sensationalism. Here’s a woman who feels she has something important to say, but the media only cares about her because she is naked. Would the news media still have microphones in front of her if she wasn’t standing there topless?

                  9. In the end, with all of this, we are still killing the planet.

                  gun to mother earth

                    This last illustration argues that despite all of our technological gains, we are still polluting the earth as if we have a virtual gun pointed at Mother Nature. As we build bigger cities and higher technology, how much more damages can we continue to do before putting our lives at risk?

                    Featured photo credit: Jens Johnsson via

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