One Secret to a Longer Life:- - Keep Learning

Three economists noted the correlation between education and health and gave some interesting advice: If you want to improve health, you will get more return by investing in education than by investing in medical care.

My guess is that this cannot be forced or compulsory education and is more likely not related to the absolute knowledge gained as much as it is to the burning curiosity and desire to learn. I interpret this data to support the contention that becoming a lifelong student will not only make you a more interesting person, it will also allow you to live longer!

Other variables -- not smoking, a vital network of friends and powerful jobs with greater flexibility -- certainly count in the equation, but none are more important than education.

In fact, a Princeton University professor found a patient's life expectancy at age 35 could be lengthened by as much as 18 months, merely by going to school for one extra year, leading to more studies that have altered laws on compulsory education in various European countries.

Why education may matter, according to experts: Less educated people are less able to plan for the future, thus unequipped to make life-saving health choices like quitting smoking or modifying their diets.

New York Times January 3, 2007 Registration Required

The Ledger January 3, 2006

The Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 72, No. 1, January 2005: 189-221 Free Full Text PDF

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