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Brains before beauty

The latest findings show that men live longer lives if they're married to educated women

Well-educated women not only live longer themselves - their menfolk live longer too, according to the latest findings.

In fact, their wife's level of education has more influence on men's longevity than their own education does. 

All good news in this house, says the DH, as I have a 'proper' degree (in Classics) rather than his vocational one (in Photography).

(Not, dear reader, that this has ever made any difference to our earnings - all our lives together, he has earned between three and five times as much as I have. The glass ceiling is still very much there, as we all know. ) 

Menfolk aside, however, the effect of education is important for ourselves. A woman with only a school level of education has a 53 per cent greater risk of dying early than a woman who went to university.

It would be intriguing to know precisely why, of course. It may be due to things like eating habits - it's generally acknowledged that educated women are more likely to know about nutrition, just as they are likely to know more about general health issues such as the importance of cancer screening, quitting smoking and alcohol units. 

But it may also be the case that it is simply that educated people - including women - earn more money. And people with money they tend to have nicer jobs that don't wear their bodies out or involve them in using risky machinery, etc. They tend to live in larger houses that they can heat more easily, because they have more disposable income.  They might drive a car rather than hang around cold bus stops, and can afford to take holidays, get therapy, have a massage and all the other things that reduce stress levels. They also tend to have come from a richer background in the first place, and have had a better start in life.

Whatever the real meaning of the findings, however, it's clear to scientists that education, overall, is the key and that perhaps the best way to improve the nation's health might be to improve its educational levels - especially for women. 



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