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Explaining the education effect on health: Comparing unschooled and schooled people in urban and rural areas in Peru

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Abstract:

There are diverse studies with different methodologies, samples, and from all over the world, all showing the association between formal education and health. As a result, since the early 1970s an ongoing debate has occurred concerning how formal education plays a causal role in health. However, the way in which schooling produces such a widespread robust effect has not been well researched. Although most demographers and health researchers acknowledge the education effect, the reasons for it are not well understood. There is, of course, already speculation that the education effect on health is because schooling “teaches one to think”. But the kind of “thinking” is unspecified, and the actual cognitive effect of schooling on thinking is only assumed to exist. To realistically capture the effect of schooling, this paper focuses on how schooling influences numeracy and executive functioning more generally, and then how these enhanced capacities influence health knowledge or health behavior. Using data from a field study on formal education in 287 adults from urban and rural communities in the highlands of Peru, we examined these relationships. Modeling finds that individuals with more education have healthier behaviors and more health-knowledge. Then, our analysis showed that cognitive abilities (numeracy and executive function) increased with exposure to schooling, and that these enhanced abilities mediated the effects of education on health. Lastly, research and policy implications for health prevention programs are discussed.

Author's Keywords:

Peru
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493262_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Benavides, Martin., Leon Jara Almonte, Juan. and Baker, David. "Explaining the education effect on health: Comparing unschooled and schooled people in urban and rural areas in Peru" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493262_index.html>

APA Citation:

Benavides, M. , Leon Jara Almonte, J. and Baker, D. , 2011-05-01 "Explaining the education effect on health: Comparing unschooled and schooled people in urban and rural areas in Peru" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493262_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: There are diverse studies with different methodologies, samples, and from all over the world, all showing the association between formal education and health. As a result, since the early 1970s an ongoing debate has occurred concerning how formal education plays a causal role in health. However, the way in which schooling produces such a widespread robust effect has not been well researched. Although most demographers and health researchers acknowledge the education effect, the reasons for it are not well understood. There is, of course, already speculation that the education effect on health is because schooling “teaches one to think”. But the kind of “thinking” is unspecified, and the actual cognitive effect of schooling on thinking is only assumed to exist. To realistically capture the effect of schooling, this paper focuses on how schooling influences numeracy and executive functioning more generally, and then how these enhanced capacities influence health knowledge or health behavior. Using data from a field study on formal education in 287 adults from urban and rural communities in the highlands of Peru, we examined these relationships. Modeling finds that individuals with more education have healthier behaviors and more health-knowledge. Then, our analysis showed that cognitive abilities (numeracy and executive function) increased with exposure to schooling, and that these enhanced abilities mediated the effects of education on health. Lastly, research and policy implications for health prevention programs are discussed.


Similar Titles:
The education effect on cognition and risk assessment: Comparing unschooled and schooled populations

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Improving access to education: Understanding the effectiveness of school-based health and nutrition programs in rural Africa


 
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