Under-educated men and women are dying earlier

opinions

September 22, 2012 - 12:00 AM

American men and women who dropped out before graduating from high school are losing years of life expectancy, researchers have discovered.

They don’t know why. Those with a college degree or more are living longer. The population as a whole keeps gaining a year or two of life. But the under-educated are dying earlier. The sharpest drop was found in white women. They seemed to have lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008 — a relatively short period and a shocking step backward in life expectancy.

The research into causes has yet to be done, so public health experts are guessing. Women without a high school diploma tend to smoke more. They are more likely to be overweight. Because their group tends to be poorer than the general population, they are less likely to have health insurance. 

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