Can earning a college diploma make your heart healthier? Maybe not directly, but a study finds that people who are went to college are less at risk for heart disease than other less-educated people. Data demonstrates that the blood pressure levels of people who didn’t pursue school past 12th grade are significantly higher than that of college graduates. The study conducted physical examinations of thousands of people over the course of 30 years at regular intervals. The men who did not continue their studies beyond high school had blood pressures higher than the men who completed higher education. Meanwhile, the difference was even more pronounced for high school grad women than their collegiate counterparts. Because a higher blood pressure level is a risk factor for heart disease, these differences are considerable.
So how is it that the stress of meeting deadlines, conducting research and pulling all-nighters at college actually reduces students’ blood pressure? Most likely, it isn’t education itself that lowers heart disease risk, but other factors strongly tied to one’s educational level. In general, people without a college education earn less money than people with degrees, and other research demonstrates that poverty is another indicator of heart disease risk. Moreover, there is an association between poverty and obesity, with obesity also having a negative impact on heart health.
It looks like going to college just became an even more attractive opportunity: education not only benefits your brain and earning potential, but also your heart.