Research published in the journal Health Affairs finds that white American women with a college education have a life expectancy that’s 10.3 years longer than black women with only a high school education. There were similar findings for men: white males with a college education usually live 14.2 years longer than black men who only have a high school diploma.
New American Media took a closer look at the research, which found that even among those of the same race, where there’s an education gap, there’s also a big longevity gap.
“Although blacks have added years slightly overall, among those with the lowest education, longevity for African American men is stuck at the average life expectancy the United States reached in 1954,” the site reports. “[B]lack women linger at the 1962 level.”
The reasons for the disparity are many. Those with higher education make more money working at better jobs, know how to better cope with stress and live healthier lives. With increasing numbers of African Americans getting a college degree, we look forward to the day when those longevity findings will increase for the black population.
However, there are some things that blacks can do irrespective of education level to improve the likelihood of living longer. This story from the Toledo Blade discusses the anecdotal increase of vegetarianism in the black community. But some of those financial issues discussed in the research come up here.
“If a family can buy a pack of bologna cheaper than a pound of bing cherries, they’ll go for the bologna to feed their family,” said one vegetarian quoted in the story, Cynthia Snodgrass, who changed her diet for health reasons. “There’s a way to build a vegetarian kitchen cost effectively, but it takes time, patience, and creativity.”