So it seems that people who stay in school longer, live longer. But not for the reasons you might expect – it’s not because privileged kids are more likely to stay in school and also happen to get better healthcare. It seems that school teaches kids two things beyond the books: 1) discipline – the ability to delay gratification and 2) social networking skills. These two lessons go a long way to keeping people healthier long term.
Come to think of it, this makes a lot of sense – if a person can learn to avoid fast food for the “higher call” of health, they may live longer. If a person is well integrated in a social network, they’re more likely to seek out medical assistance earlier on – and have caring friends and family spur them on towards regular check ups, taking their meds, etc.
Now, I don’t know what YOU were doing in junior high and high school – but apparently the first hints of your discipline and networking skills were learned there. Although the research described in the NY Times article only made a link between total years in school, and total years of life – I wonder if your high school’s “expert networkers” – you know them, the ever-annoying popular kids – will fare best of all in the health arena?
Better go to your high school reunion to find out!
This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.