Study Shows Higher Education Linked to Slower Ageing and Longer Life

A groundbreaking study published in the journal JAMA Network Open has unveiled a fascinating correlation between education levels and the rate of ageing. According to this research, individuals with higher levels of education tend to age at a slower pace and have a lower risk of mortality compared to their less-educated counterparts.

Conducted by researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, the study represents a significant step forward in understanding the complex relationship between education and longevity. Senior researcher Daniel Belsky highlighted the challenges in unraveling this connection and emphasized the potential impact of interventions aimed at promoting educational attainment on healthy ageing.

The study, believed to be the first of its kind, analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, an extensive research project initiated in 1948 to track the health of residents in Framingham, Massachusetts. By utilizing genetic data and employing a genetic “clock” test to measure the pace of ageing, researchers were able to quantify the impact of education on the ageing process.

The findings revealed a remarkable pattern: for every two additional years of schooling, individuals experienced a 2 to 3 percent slower pace of ageing. Moreover, those with higher levels of education exhibited a significant 10 percent lower risk of death compared to their peers with average educational backgrounds.

Lead researcher Gloria Graf explained that the study design effectively controlled for differences in family backgrounds and financial resources, allowing researchers to isolate the effects of education on ageing. This rigorous approach strengthens the validity of the findings and underscores the importance of education as a determinant of healthy ageing.

These findings have profound implications for public health policy and interventions aimed at promoting longevity. By highlighting the potential benefits of educational attainment in slowing the ageing process and reducing mortality risk, the study provides valuable insights for policymakers and healthcare professionals.

As societies grapple with the challenges of an ageing population and increasing healthcare costs, investments in education could emerge as a potent strategy for promoting healthy ageing and enhancing overall well-being. By empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to lead healthy lives, education could emerge as a powerful tool for promoting longevity and reducing the burden of age-related diseases.