Surprise Health Secret: A College Degree?

college degreeIt's been drilled again and again into our noggins that a college degree can help us get a leg up on our careers. But there's apparently another benefit linked to having a college education that isn't as intuitive. According to a new study, people who've earned a bachelor's degree may actually be healthier in their 20s than those who have not. In case you think that sounds vague, "healthier" in this instance means having fewer symptoms of depression and having a higher self-rating of health.

Good to know, but I think I'm going to take this opportunity to use my college degree and declare this study to be a whole lot of hogwash ...

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True, there are statistics out there about college graduates having lower smoking rates and higher exercise rates than non-college graduates. Still, the majority of college graduates in their 20s that I know -- no matter who they are compared to -- have no business at all being described as "healthy."

Think about it: Lots of college graduates spend the majority of their 20s (and sometimes even longer) saddled with student loans and worried if they should move on to the next thing with all that debt. You can't tell me that all that financial stress doesn't have some effect on their mental health. And not only that, but many college graduates are all too happy to continue some of the habits they fine-tuned in college well into adulthood (and here I'm talking about binge drinking, staying up all night, and smoking god knows what). I just can't in good faith believe that there are all these superhuman healthy 20-somethings walking around out there! Where are you healthy people?

At the end of the day, I know lots of healthy people and lots of unhealthy people, and from what I can tell, there's no noticeable pattern as to how many degrees they each have. Rather, their health is determined by their habits and whether they have a vested interest in taking care of themselves. I'm willing to bet that education level doesn't have anything to do with it.

Do you think your degree determines how healthy you are?

 

Image via Travis Hornung/Flickr

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