Better Health, Better Learning Report - July 2017 SCORE Better Health Better Learning Report_July 20 - Page 9

High-quality education and academic achievement are associated with improved outcomes later in life. Attending a high-performing school can lead to improved math and English standardized test scores, decreased dropout rates, and lower rates of engaging in behaviors such as binge drinking and substance use at school. Researchers observing these relationships concluded that “…increasing performance of public schools in low-income communities may be a powerful mechanism to decrease very risky health behaviors among low-income adolescents and to decrease health disparities across the life span.” 20 High-quality K-12 education also better prepares high school graduates to pursue postsecondary education and earn certifications or degrees that improve their earning potential and overall quality of life. College graduates live an average of five years longer than people who do not graduate from high school. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has noted that college graduates can expect to live five years longer than people who do not graduate high school. Further, people with four years of additional education beyond high school are less likely to be overweight, to smoke, or to have heart disease or diabetes. 21 In contrast, researchers who conducted an extensive review of relevant research in 2004 noted patients with low literacy levels were generally 1.5 to 3 times more likely to experience poor health. 22 8