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Higher education, income levels linked to better health

obesityPeople with higher levels of education and higher income have lower rates of many chronic diseases compared to those with less education and lower income levels, according to Health, United States, 2011 – the CDC’s annual comprehensive report on Americans’ health.

This year’s edition features a special section on socioeconomic status and health. Among the highlights:

In 2007-2010, higher levels of education among the head of household resulted in lower rates of obesity among boys and girls 2-19 years of age. In households where the head of household had less than a high school education, 24 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls were obese. In households where the head had a bachelor’s degree or higher, obesity prevalence was 11 percent for males aged 2-19 years and 7 percent for females.

In 2007-2010, women 25 years of age and over with less than a bachelor’s degree were more likely to be obese (39 percent-43 percent) than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (25 percent). Obesity prevalence among adult males did not vary with educational levels.

In 2010, 31 percent of adults 25-64 years of age with a high school diploma or less education were current smokers, compared with 24 percent of adults with some college and 9 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

On average in 2006, 25-year-old men without a high school diploma had a life expectancy 9.3 years less than those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Women without a high school diploma had a life expectancy 8.6 years less than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Other highlights from the report include:

· In 2010, half of adults 18 years of age and over failed to meet both the aerobic activity and the muscle-strengthening federal physical activity recommendations.

· The percentage of women 40 years of age and over who had a mammogram in the past two years remained steady at 67 percent to 70 percent during the 10-year period from 2000 to 2010. During the same period, the percentage of adults aged 50-75 years with a recent colorectal test or procedure increased from 34 percent to 59 percent.

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