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Healthy Lifestyles and Longevity Linked to Higher Ed

Here's another reason to go to college: You may live longer.

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control shows a link between higher education and longevity. More-educated Americans also are less likely to smoke or be obese, according to Health, United States, 2011, the annual report of health statistics in the country.

For men age 25 without a high school diploma, life expectancy was 9.3 years less than for those with a bachelor's degree or higher—and the gap increased by 1.9 years from 1996 to 2006. For women,there was a 8.6 year advantage in longevity with a college education, and that figure rose by 2.8 percent in that decade.

While obesity among men didn't vary consistently by educational attainment, from 2007-2010, women 25 years of age and older with less than a bachelor's degree were more likely to be obese (39 percent to 43 percent) than those with a college education (25 percent).

About one-third of American adults with a high school diploma or less are current smokers, compared with 24 percent of adults who have some college and 9 percent of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher.

The connection between education and healthy lifestyles was evident among children, as well in the CDC study.

For children ages 2 to 19, obesity decreased with increasing education of the head of household. In households where the parent had less than a high school education, 24 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls were obese, compared with 11 percent of boys and 7 percent of girls in homes where parents had a college education.

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