Education: a missed opportunity for public health intervention

Am J Public Health. 2013 Jun;103(6):997-1001. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300993. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Educational attainment is a well-established social determinant of health. It affects health through many mechanisms such as neural development, biological aging, health literacy and health behaviors, sense of control and empowerment, and life chances. Education--from preschool to beyond college--is also one of the social determinants of health for which there are clear policy pathways for intervention. We reviewed evidence from studies of early childhood, kindergarten through 12th grade, and higher education to identify which components of educational policies and programs are essential for good health outcomes. We have discussed implications for public health interventions and health equity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Educational Status*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Public Health / standards*
  • Schools / standards