Health Policy Briefing: Health Disparity in Educational Status

Topics: Higher education, Health care, Epidemiology Pages: 3 (842 words) Published: October 4, 2013
HCAD 3110 Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics

September 30, 2013

Health disparities across education status are remarkable and unjust. Eliminating these disparities is an ethical as well as a fiscal responsibility. This brief will analyze the disparity, the statistics surrounding it, and recommendations to mediate the imbalance.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) report for 1993-2001 shows that those who had attended college (34.6%) had close to three times as many reported excellent health days as compared to those who had less a less than high school education-11.4% (5). This disparity carries throughout the remainder of the questionnaire’s measures in “very good”, “good”, “fair”, “poor”, and “fair or poor” categories. Morbidity and mortality rates are noted to be higher in those of lower educational levels (4). Health Days 1993-2001 by Educational Attainment: Data from BRFSS 1993-2001 U.S.

Behavioral risk factors among those who have not carried their education beyond high school includes obesity, a tendency to consume more alcoholic drinks, illicit drug use, household safety and smoking. This may imply that people with a higher education level employ healthier behavior patterns (4). An interesting fact is that the population with a post high school education are shown to experience less chronic and acute illnesses, but the association with chronic conditions is greater for individuals with a lower educational level; this points to factors other than behavior. Among other components that need to be considered are that those with higher educational attainment tend to live in communities that allow them access to healthier foods and recreational facilities in which to exercise. This could be due to the ability to obtain jobs that pay higher wages (4) and these jobs are likely to have healthier work environments with easier access to health insurance (1). Risk...

Cited: 1. Cutler, David. “Education and Health”. Policy Brief # 9. National Poverty Center Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan. March 2007. Web. 28 September 2013.
2. Egerter, Susan, et al. University of California San Francisco Center on Disparities in Health. “Education and Health.” Exploring the Social Determinants of Health. Issue Brief # 5. April 2011. Web. 28 September 2013.
3. Telfair, Joseph. Shelton, Terri. “Educational Attainment as a Social Determinant of Health.” NCMJ vol. 73, no. 5.
P359-361.12 October 2012. Web. 27 September 2013.
4. “Why Does Education Matter So Much to Health?” Health Policy Snapshot Public Health and Prevention. Issue Brief. March 2013. Web. 28 September 2013.
5. Zaharan, Hatice, et al. Health-Related Quality of Life Surveillance -United States, 1993-2002. MMWR Surveillance Summaries. 20 OCTOBER 2005. Web. 27 September 2013.
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