Sunday, January 22, 2012

Public Health and Education; The Ultimate Power Couple

  This week Ariela and Lauren put together a wonderful presentation on the intersection between education and health.  The articles and discussion focused on how a student's health directly impacts their academic performance.  Maybe its my innate public healthiness, but I could only think about this issue from the opposite side; how education directly impacts someone's health.
   We all know that the education you receive as a child impacts everything you do later in life; if you go to college,  what kind of jobs you get, who you meet; the list goes on and on. But what about the direct impacts on health?  Did you know that adults with only a high school diploma have a higher percentage of obese individuals than those with some college? (Obesity and Education)  And then there's the huge issue of health literacy. If we are lucky enough to see a doctor do we even understand what they are telling us? For most Americans that is an absolute NO.  According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, over 1/3 of adults would have trouble with basic health tasks such as following prescription instructions (Health Literacy).
   Corps members, I don't have to remind you of all the kids you see every year who can barely read.  But now you can think about all those hours you spend working with them in a different light.  Every page that you push them to struggle through has a direct effect on their current and future health.  So thank you for all the hours you spend reading with your kids.  You just made my job easier and America healthier.


                                                                                     Jennifer Reid


  1. Great post, Jennifer -- health literacy is something that has always grabbed me about public health because it is so clearly about education as well. One thing that good teachers do well is meet their students where they are (then have high expectations to get them where they need to be). How do you think the healthcare system can do a better job in this area? How would the system look differently?

  2. Hi Everyone,
    For a great introduction to the link between health promotion and higher education, check out NASPA's Leadership for a Healthy Campus:
    Your colleague in Health Promotion across the street,
    Heather Zesiger, MPH, MCHES, SPH04
    Director, Office of Health Promotion, Emory Student Health and Counseling Services