Heart Disease Risk Much Greater in People with Less Education

Illustration of three icons: a pile of books, topped with an apple; a diploma or certificate and a mortar

People who leave high school without a diploma have more than double the rate of heart attack than people who have a university degree, according to new data from the Australian 45 and Up Study. Those with intermediate education—but no university degree—have a risk of heart attack about two-thirds higher than college graduates.

These results came from following over a quarter of a million Australian men and women aged 45 to 64 for five years. Stroke risk also correlated with education level in the study. People without a high-school diploma were 50% more likely to have a first stroke than those with a college degree. Those with intermediate education were 20% more likely to have a stroke.

“This research demonstrates…how much worse the inequalities in cardiovascular disease are than we previously thought,” said Emily Banks, PhD, scientific director of the 45 and Up Study, in a press release. However, she added, “This research also provides important clues about how much cardiovascular disease can be prevented.”

  • Read the full article in the International Journal for Equity in Health
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