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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Graduating to a Healthier Life

Graduating to a Healthier Life

More than half of Coloradans without a high school diploma reported their oral health as fair or poor – the two lowest choices – in 2013.

This was among the findings of the latest 2013 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) brief, Education and Health: Graduating to a Healthier Lifereleased today. The data show that Coloradans with more education reported that they were in better health than their less-educated counterparts.

These findings underscore the increasing understanding that a wide range of factors, often referred to as social determinants, profoundly influence our health.

We compared two educational levels for this study: less than high school and high school or more (at least a diploma or equivalent). Research finds that health outcomes differ most between these two groups. Our analysis of CHAS data found the difference to be striking.

The data show that Coloradans without a high school diploma are about three times more likely to report fair or poor health than those with at least a high school diploma. Oral health and mental health outcomes showed similar trends. Nearly one of four Coloradans without a high school diploma reported eight or more days of poor mental health in the month prior to the survey.

The tie between education and health is complex, involving other factors like employment and insurance. Data from the CHAS tell that story.

In a state where 70 percent of the state’s insured received their coverage through an employer in 2013, one of five Coloradans without a high school diploma was unemployed and looking for work. Half of this same population were uninsured at the time of the 2013 survey.

Compared with the rest of the nation, Colorado has historically placed near the back of the pack for on-time graduation rates. However, through the work of groups across the state, the on-time graduation rate is trending in the right direction – increasing from 75.4 percent in 2012 to 76.9 percent in 2013.

For even more data on education, health and other topics from the CHAS, visit ourdata repository