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Education and Health Care

March 1, 2011

My guess is that if you want to improve health outcomes in the United States, ignore health insurance and focus on literacy.

— Arnold Kling, an economist, discussing the complex interplay between education and health.

We don’t need to completely ignore the economic side of our health care problems, but he is completely right in suggesting better education could improve health. Health literacy is a key component to empowering patients and providing the foundation for doctors to effectively educate patients in the exam room. We need to begin educating children at a young age about the science of how their bodies work so when they are adults with high blood pressure and diabetes they can understand what changes have occurred in their bodies and how we can treat them. Or better yet, effective nutrition and physical activity education throughout primary education could lead to life-long physically active people who never develop hypertension or diabetes.


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