Want to make it to your golden years? It’s time to crack open a book and get after it. A joint study between three American universities is correlating a link between higher education and life expectancy. Living longer? Sign me up.

The research pedigree is undoubtedly impressive. I know the headline sounds like the for-profit colleges have turned desperate, but the team combined researchers from the University of Colorado, New York University and the University of North Carolina.

What’s the takeaway? The teams found that people going back to complete their high school equivalency could avert the same amount of deaths as every smoker suddenly quitting.

It’s an attention grabber for sure. Published in PLOS One, researchers explained that people who attain higher education – high school or a college degree – have lower mortality rates thanks to associated factors.

The higher your education, the higher income status, social status, psychological well-being, healthier behaviors and enhanced cognitive development.

Virginia Chang, a lead author, and associate professor of public health at NYU, explained the results in a statement.

“In public health policy, we often focus on changing health behaviors such as diet, smoking and drinking. Education — which is a more fundamental, upstream driver of health behaviors and disparities — should also be a key element of U.S. health policy.”

life expectancy and higher education

Using the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey, researchers were able to analyze data from one million people between 1986 to 2006. Using the birth years of 1925, 1935 and 1945, they found 145,000 deaths could have been postponed if people without a high school degree had sought the equivalency (GED).

In addition to the 145,000 deaths postponed, a further 110,000 deaths could have been delayed had the person pursued a four-year degree from college.

Education and Living Longer

Is education the fountain of youth? It may not have us living to 150, but it doesn’t hurt to keep learning. This study focused on predetermined educational benchmarks – no high school diploma, a diploma (GED) and college.

We are in an age where education is about to be disrupted. We already see it with the coding boot camps. You can log into the Khan Academy and get a better education than a majority of high schools and colleges.

Entire YouTube channels are devoted to teaching us science, math, foreign languages and the list goes on. Apps release every day that have taken cognitive development and made it a game you love. All you have to do is download Elevate. It’s truly one of the more remarkable mobile apps out there.

Yes, education is being correlated to a longer life. But don’t just stop at high school or college. You may change your mind and want to move even further from your chosen career.

Hey, we all need to live as long as we can until they figure out how to reverse aging. I’m determined to see some serious colonization of space in my lifetime. If that means I have to read Charles Dickens, consider it favorited on my Kindle reading list.

What about you? Tell me some of the learning apps, websites or YouTube channels you subscribe to in the comments.


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