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Private schools linked to better health, study suggests




Private schools linked to better health, study suggests


Attending a private British high school or higher-status university is linked to better cognitive function, heart health and BMI decades after graduation, according to a new study published Tuesday. Researchers believe greater disposable income and physical activity benefits may play a role.

Key facts

About 7% of the study participants (all of whom lived in Britain) attended a private secondary school, less than 4% attended a grammar school – which the researchers consider ‘selective no-fee’ – and 89% of the participants went to a state school. funded school, while 7% attended a higher status university that is highly regarded Russell Group schools such as the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

The researchers found that those who attended a private high school had better cardiometabolic and cognitive outcomes than those who attended state-funded schools, and limited evidence suggests that the private school group also had lower BMIs and better blood pressure, according to an article published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

No major health differences were found between the private school group and the secondary school group, except for BMI, where participation in private schools was associated with lower BMI.

Attending higher status universities was associated with lower BMI and better cognitive performance compared to participants attending “normal status” universities; having no degree was associated with the worst health outcomes, except for better grip strength and balance.

The researchers believe a number of reasons could explain the study’s results: Students who attend private high schools tend to have greater physical activity than their peers, and participants who attended higher status schools had higher disposable income, allowing them to focus more on their health.

The study involved more than 8,500 participants aged 46 to 48, who were part of the 1970 British Cohort Study, followed by researchers since birth in 1970, and were selected and interviewed about their mid-life health between 2016 and 2018.

An earlier study of the British cohort found that those who attended high-status private secondary schools and universities had lower BMI and better self-reported health scores than their counterparts.

Important background

Similar results are evident in the United States: Attending American universities with selective admissions rates was associated with slightly higher cognitive performance later in life, a study on aging finds. study found it. Adolescents who attend U.S. schools with benefits such as smaller student-teacher ratios and teachers with better salaries have better cognitive skills between the ages of 65 and 72 than those who attend schools with fewer or no benefits, according to a 2020 study. study. Higher economic status, social position and greater access to well-resourced primary and secondary schools are all reasons the researchers found for these health outcomes. Researchers too discovers Higher education helps people find better-paying jobs with fewer safety risks, so this may play a role in better health outcomes.


Receiving any type education after high school is also associated with better health outcomes worldwide. The higher a person’s level of education, the lower the risk of premature death, according to a global study from January study published in the Lancet. A person’s risk of death fell by an average of 2% with each additional year of education he or she completed, the study found.

Surprising fact

Education level has also been linked to specific health problems. According to a 2019 study, people with the highest level of education—high school or elementary school—had a 52% higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease than those who attended graduate school. study. Diabetes risk can also decrease with more information: 13.1% of US adults with diabetes have less than a high school education, compared to 9.1% who have completed high school and 6.9% who have more than a high school education. Black and white people with 12 years or less of education have a 60% to 180% higher cancer death rate compared to people with 16 years or more of education, a study found by the American Cancer Society.