Education and Education Policy as Social Determinants of Health
Education is a strong predictor of long-term health and quality of life. At least one investigator has argued that education causes health, but the pathways through which it leads to better health and longer life expectancy are not yet clearly understood. What is clear is that health, human development and well-being are dynamic processes that are closely related to socioeconomic status (SES) and educational attainment. An individual’s health is highly correlated with his or her social position, and success in school and years of schooling are major factors in determining social and occupational status in adulthood.
Biological, environmental and social experiences that occur throughout the entire lifespan influence well-being and illness, but the first few years of a child's life represent a crucial period during which the roots of learning, literacy and the adaptive behaviors that sustain physical and mental health must be nourished. Data from epidemiologic research suggest that these early experiences exert important influences both on adult health and, ultimately, on community and societal function.
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