Educational Equity exists when individuals have equitable access to high quality educational opportunities, materials, and instructors regardless of age, race, income, or ability status.
Educational Equity & Latino Health
Education is the foundation for upward mobility and health, with educational attainment shaping opportunities for quality employment and higher income, influencing rates of chronic disease among individuals, and impacting rates of violence within communities.
Education is an important predictor of health because it both shapes and reflects so many other factors that affect people’s life chances. In fact, many public health advocates believe investing in education is the single most effective intervention we can make to improve health outcomes and tackle inequities.
There is a large and persistent association between education and health. In this paper, we review what is known about this link. We first document the facts about the relationship between education and health. The education ‘gradient’ is found for both health behaviors and health status, though the former does not fully explain the latter. The effect of education increases with increasing years of education, with no evidence of a sheepskin effect. Nor are there differences between blacks and whites, or men and women. Gradients in behavior are biggest at young ages, and decline after age 50 or 60. We then consider differing reasons why education might be related to health. The obvious economic explanations – education is related to income or occupational choice – explain only a part of the education effect. We suggest that increasing levels of education lead to different thinking and decision-making patterns. The monetary value of the return to education in terms of health is perhaps half of the return to education on earnings, so policies that impact educational attainment could have a large effect on population health.
Everyone knows that without a good education, prospects for a good job with good earnings are slim. Few people think of education as a crucial path to health, however. Yet a large body of evidence strongly—and, with very rare exceptions, consistently— links education with health, even when other factors like income are taken into account. By “education” we mean educational attainment, or the years or level of overall schooling a person has, rather than instruction on specific health topics like hygiene, diet or exercise; while the quality of education also is important for health outcomes, this information is more difficult to measure and thus typically unavailable. People with more education are likely to live longer, to experience better health outcomes, and to practice health-promoting behaviors such as exercising regularly, refraining from smoking, and obtaining timely health care check- ups and screenings. Educational attainment among adults is linked with children’s health as well, beginning early in life: babies of more-educated mothers are less likely to die before their first birthdays, and children of more-educated parents experience better health.