The better educated you are and the more money you make, the healthier you’re likely to be, a U.S. government report released Wednesday shows.
The report found that more educated people with higher incomes suffer from fewer chronic diseases and live longer than the less educated poor.
“Not having education and being poor is detrimental to your health,” said report co-author Amy Bernstein, a project director in the division of analysis and epidemiology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
That’s partly because people with fewer advantages often have health habits that include worse diet, less exercise and smoking, she explained.
In addition, they are likely to be uninsured or have limited access to health care — disparities that haven’t changed much in the decade covered by the report, Bernstein said.
“It’s frustrating to the public health community that this is not changing. We want to eliminate health disparities,” Bernstein said.
For example, 44 percent of people below the poverty level have a disability, compared with 24 percent of those 400 percent above the poverty line, she said.
“These are really large differences. Being below the poverty line is really bad for your health,” Bernstein said.
Highlights of the report include:
Twenty-four percent of boys and 22 percent of girls were obese in homes where parents didn’t graduate from high school.
Eleven percent of boys and 7 percent of girls were obese in homes where parents had a college degree.
As many as 43 percent of women aged 25 and older without a college degree are obese. Obesity among men did not change with education.
Thirty-one percent of adults with a high school diploma or less are smokers, compared with 9 percent of those with a college degree.
Overall, smoking declined from 21 percent in 2006 to 19 percent in 2010.
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.