• Education May Be Key for a Longer Life - The New York Times

    White Americans, on average, live longer than black Americans. A new study suggests that this apparent racial disparity may largely be explained by varying levels of education.

    In 1985, researchers recruited 5,114 men and women, roughly equal numbers of blacks and whites, average age 25. They followed them through 2015, and over those years 395 died, all before age 60.

    The death rate among blacks was about 70 percent higher than that of whites. But when the researchers controlled for factors that affect longevity like age, sex and socioeconomic status and compared blacks and whites with similar levels of education, the disparity almost completely disappeared.

    Among people with a high school education or less, 13.5 percent of whites and 13.2 percent of blacks died before age 60. In those with some college, 9 percent of blacks and 6.7 percent of whites died. And among those with a college degree, 5.9 percent of blacks and 4.3 percent of whites died.

    Irrespective of race, the group with a high school education or less had the highest percentage of deaths, and college graduates the lowest. The study is in the American Journal of Public Health.

    “The takeaway here is positive,” said the lead author, Dr. Brita Roy, an assistant professor of medicine at Yale. “We can’t and wouldn’t want to change race. But we can change systems and policies to promote educational equity.”

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