Expatica news

Education level affects life expectancy

31 May 2007

BRUSSELS – Significant health differences among population groups in Belgium can be linked to educational level.

An uneducated person tends to die 3 to 5 years earlier than a highly educated person and even has 18 to 25 fewer years of good health to look forward to than his or her highly educated counterpart. The King Boudewijn Foundation reported this in a press release today.

A child with two unemployed parents has a 50-percent higher chance of being born premature and at a low birth weight and is even twice as likely to be stillborn than a child with at least one working parent.

Less educated men aged 40 to 49 are almost twice as likely to die of lung cancer than highly educated men in the same age bracket. With these examples the King Boudewijn Foundation wants to show that health in our country is not evenly distributed.

Educational level and social status are structurally linked to health, the foundation says. The Belgian Scientific Institute for Public Health has calculated that a woman with no school qualifications by the age of 25 can expect to live 3.5 years shorter and look forward to 25 fewer years of good health than a peer with a university diploma. Men in the same situation have a life expectancy of 5.5 years shorter than their highly educated peers, and have 18 years less of good health to look forward to.

The fact that uneducated people enjoy fewer years of good health can primarily be attributed to ailments like arthritis, back problems, cardiovascular disease, strokes, asthma and chronic obstructive respiratory disease. Their life expectancy is lower mainly because of fatal conditions that can largely be prevented, like cirrhosis of the liver, bowel cancer, suicide and accidents.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news