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Invited Commentary
August 2017

Why We Need to Know Patients’ Education

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Center for Health and Community, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Center for Health and Community, University of California, San Francisco
  • 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(8):1172-1174. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1892

Kubota and colleagues1 have further strengthened the literature linking education to risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Using a large longitudinal community-based sample of African American and white men and women with careful outcome adjudication, they report significant associations between educational attainment and lifetime risk of CVD. The chance of incident CVD by age 85 years was 47% for 45-year-old male high school graduates vs 55% for men without high school credentials, nearly an 8–percentage point advantage. The advantage of a high school diploma was even larger for women: 15 percentage points. These associations were graded, and the gap between the highest (graduate/professional school) and lowest (grade school) education groups was 17 and 23 percentage points in men and women, respectively. Associations between education and CVD were seen for both African Americans and whites, although they were smaller for African American men and women than for their white counterparts.

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