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Advanced degrees add up to lower blood pressure
Date:2/27/2011

g of the 1971-2001 Framingham study period. This statistical maneuver allowed him to determine whether the analysis measured a static difference apparent early on in life or whether the differences increased at all over time. For women, they did. The most educated group retained a 2.53 mmHg benefit over the least educated. In men, the difference was much less, only 0.34 mmHg.

That the gender differences are so pronounced and appear to become more so as life goes on suggests that education may have a greater impact on women's health over their lifetime than on men's health, Loucks said. That could be because of the correlation between low educational attainment and other health risk factors found in other studies of women.

"Women with less education are more likely to be experiencing depression, they are more likely to be single parents, more likely to be living in impoverished areas and more likely to be living below the poverty line," Loucks said.

One caveat, he said, is that the population in the study, drawn from the suburban community of Framingham, Mass., decades ago, is disproportionately white and that the conclusions might not generalize to other races.

Education and public health

Loucks said the study adds to a chorus of others suggesting that policy makers who want to improve public health and are struggling to do it in other ways, might want to look at improving access to education.

"Socioeconomic gradients in health are very complex," he said. "But there's the question of what do we do about it. One of the big potential areas to intervene on is education."


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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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