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Education Is Key to Health: Report
Date:5/16/2012

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  • Overall, smoking declined 21 percent since 2007, to 19 percent of all adults in 2009.
  • Men aged 25 with no high school diploma lived roughly nine years less than men with a college degree. For women, it was about eight years less. That's an increase in this disparity of about two years since 1996.
  • More poor children in 2010 were insured than in 2000, with the uninsured rate dropping by 13 percent.
  • In addition to income and educational disparities, the researchers also found:

    • Half of all adults don't exercise or engage in aerobic activities; this is especially true of older adults.
    • A slightly higher proportion of women are having mammograms (67 percent in 2000, 70 percent in 2010).
    • More people are being screened for colon cancer with the rate increasing from 34 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2010.

    Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said that "the good news is life expectancy has gone up, some disparities have narrowed and some key measures of the quality of the nation's health care -- such as infant mortality -- have improved. Utilization of clinical services, including clinical preventive services, has also improved somewhat over time."

    The bad news includes persistent neglect of the power of lifestyle as medicine, he said.

    "The greatest opportunity to enhance medical destiny resides in the realm of lifestyle behaviors -- tobacco avoidance, healthful eating, routine physical activity," Katz said.

    Another sobering element is the association between less education and poorer health outcomes, Katz added. "Financial impediments to a quality education may translate into health care costs down the line. The report invites the nation to reflect on the risks of a 'penny wise, pound foolish' approach to education and health alike," he said.

    Compared to many other countries, the United St
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