Education and Health: How Are They Connected?


By Marian McEwan RN, MN – Special to the Sydenham Current

While social issues such as being able to afford safe housing and the shrinking middle class may be more controversial, a senior vice president for healthy communities said, he is hard-pressed to find anyone against high-quality education for everyone.

“Education is the single most important modifiable social determinant of health”, “Income and education are the two big ones that connect most strongly with life expectancy and most health status measures.” Dr. Iton, MD (McGill, 2016).

So what do these “two big ones” have to do with the ability to buy enough healthy food for you and your family?

It’s like one positive step leads to the next…


This picture shows how hugely important getting a good education is, how it can affect your job, your health, your family, and the health of your community.

Research has proven that basic needs like: education, a job, healthy food and a safe home have a massive impact on a person’s physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellness. Think about it… if a person has a reasonable paying job and can afford the basics listed above, then they will be less stressed, not have to look for another part-time job, have a positive self-worth and this will all flow over to their family. They will have the time to spend with their partner and their children helping them with their school work developing a positive parent-child relationship which encourages the child towards success.

While 75% of children from families with moderate and high income levels are ready for school at age 5 years, only 48% of children from poor families start at that same level. Poor children start school at a disadvantage in terms of early skills (math and reading), behaviours and health (Issacs, 2012).

When we are young and are able to learn about what is healthy and what is not; which are good choices and which are not; are able to achieve a high school diploma or more… this leads to the ability to find a good job paying at least a living wage so families can afford the basics and participate in their local community allowing for a decent quality of life.

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