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Study Finds Dropping Out Is the New Health Risk

Listen up, students! Here's yet one more reason to avoid dropping out of school: It's dangerous to your health.

According to this article posted yesterday in Science Daily, dropping out of high school shortens one's life expectancy by an average of 5.1 years. That's almost as bad as smoking, which can cost you an average of 6.6 years of perfect health, and worse than being obese, which trims an average of 4.2 years off the life span.

The new statistics come from a study published this month in the American Journal of Public Health. The calculations were carried out by researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and are based on analyses from various national data sets. The bad news for dropouts would be even worse, the researchers reportedly said, if their data had included the large numbers of dropouts residing in the nation's chronic-care facilities and prisons.

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