An Analysis of the Relationship Between Educational Attainment & Health
By Lee Flood & Katrina Caldon-Ruggles
Through this website, we attempt to identify the impact of educational attainment on various health indicators, namely teen fertility, ATOD use, obesity rates, and overall general health. We first present the case through research on each topic. Then, we use the town of Center, CO as a real life case study demonstrating the impact of low educational attainment. Center is a rural community of very low socioeconomic status in southern Colorado. Of the student population, 38% will be first generation high school graduates, and 88% will be first generation college graduates. While it is difficult to separate the impact of poverty from low educational attainment, the two are certainly related and both have had an impact on the quality of life for the residents of Center. However, we also believe Center can serve as a demonstration of the positive impact of skill-based health education in an effort to reverse the impact and cycle of low educational attainment. Over the past ten years, we have worked to implement coordinated, comprehensive health education in the school district grades Kindergarden through graduation. Finally, the last link provides the implications of the research and the data on this topic for health education programming. We hope that through our example, you can develop a deeper understanding of the impact of low educational attainment, a deeper sense of empathy for the people in these circumstances, and a sense of motivation to create social change. We truly believe that health education programming is an effective strategy to bring about positive social change.
Inequities in Education
This video created by Stefan Welsh, a graduate of Center High School, highlights the differences in education quality in Colorado among different socioeconomic status (SES) levels. Socioeconomic status is a combined measure of income, education, and occupation, and the three are certainly related. Thus, inherent in socioeconomic status is the impact of low educational attainment. Communities of low SES are more likely to have poorer quality and fewer educational opportunties, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty and low educational attainment with the resulting poor health consequences. (You will need to turn off the media player directly below BEFORE you watch the video.)