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i They also found that those with 0 to 8 years of education experienced decreases in the length of healthy life, causing educational differentials in healthy life expectancy to widen over time.
ii Among adults, the increase in obesity was largest for men with at least some college and for women with at least some college or a Bachelor’s degree or higher, resulting in a narrowing of the education gradient in adult obesity.9
iii Montez and Zajacova found that the gradient had not changed significantly for some causes of death, but had for others. The gradient increased—for lung cancer, cerebrovascular disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Death rates for heart disease fell for all women. Earlier modeling studies yielded mixed results on the influence of education on mortality among women.19,32,33
iv Researchers have documented discrete health states associated with each stage of education: high school education but no diploma, high school diploma but no college, college education but no degree, and college degree.34,35
v Survey data from the 1990s found that depression decreased more steeply for women than for men as the level of education increased. The gender gap in depression largely disappeared among persons with a college degree or higher.18 Earlier research from the 1970s described a link between education and markers of happiness, excitement in life, subjective health, and satisfaction with community—particularly among white women.36
vi Children also perform better in school when they are healthy. Although this “reverse causality” can explain some of the observed association between education and health, it does not account for the poor health outcomes that occur among adults who previously obtained a limited education.