Why Education Matters

There is a link between levels of education (years of schooling or the number of degrees obtained) and health.

Lower levels of education are linked to:

  • Shorter lives
  • More illness and injuries
  • Unhealthy habits
  • Risky behaviours
  • Less community participation
  • Need for social assistance
  • Involvement with the criminal and justice system

Education outcomes can be greatly affected by health, as well. For example, students who have ongoing health issues, chronic stress or hunger may have trouble attending or doing well in school. The education level of parents is also linked to their children’s health and well-being.

Increasing levels of education can improve health by:

  • Increasing health knowledge, literacy, coping, and problem-solving skills, and influencing health behaviors
  • Improving job opportunities and related benefits, such as income (another determinant of health)
  • Enhancing social and mental health factors, like self-confidence and social supports

Want to Know More?

Education in Northwestern Ontario

In the Northwestern Health Unit Catchment Area

This is an image of a woman in a classroom with her; she is resting her head in her hands and looks worried.
  • 20% of people aged 25-64 in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment do not have a certificate, degree, or diploma while only 10% do not in all of Ontario
  • 53% of people in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area have a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree compared to 65% in Ontario
  • 80% of people aged 25-64 in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area have at least a high school diploma compared to 90% in Ontario

(Source: 2016 Census)

What Can You Do?
This is an image of an adult holding textbooks and who is wearing a pack sack

Communities can work with residents, businesses, local governments, the education sector, and other local organizations to promote health equity. Community-driven interventions can help to address educational attainment, unemployment, poverty, school dropout rates and other factors that influence education and health inequities. These include community and school initiatives that:

  • Encourage parent engagement
  • Take action to improve the health and well-being of students by building on existing physical activity, healthy eating and inclusion policies and programs
  • Address barriers to participation in school and community activities (i.e. transportation, funding, equipment, etc.)
  • Ensure support during transition periods (i.e. elementary to secondary, secondary to employment or post-secondary, entering a new school or community)
  • Provide volunteer, mentoring and skill building opportunities and enable community connections
  • Create supportive environments and a culture that values and engages youth in the matters that affect them
  • Coordinate and enable easy access to services and supports for students and families
  • Provide literacy programs
  • Provide affordable childcare for adult learners
  • Get involved and help do whatever it takes as a community to support the health, wellness and success of children and youth – it takes a village!