Data show health linked to education

  • 2013-08-07
  • From wire report

HEALTH RISK: Back-breaking farm work may not be the best way to enjoy country living.

TALLINN - According to Statistics Estonia data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), 388,077 people or 30 percent of Estonian residents suffer from some long-term illness or health problem, reports LETA. People with a higher education suffer from long-term illnesses on average at half the level that people with a basic or lower education.
The difference lies in coping with everyday life, where 15 percent of rural and nearly 13 percent of the urban population had serious limitations due to health problems.

Men experience long-term illnesses slightly more, until 30 years of age; women do so after 50 years of age. From the age of 30, men living in rural areas have more long-term illnesses than those at the same age in urban areas. In the case of children and young people, morbidity from long-term illnesses is relatively higher until the age of 10; thereafter morbidity decreases significantly.

About 29 percent of Estonians, 32 percent of Russians and even 38 percent of representatives of other nationalities have health problems.
Education has an essential impact on people’s health; the risk for long-term illnesses is extremely high for persons with a basic education or lower. Persons aged 20–50 with higher education have on average half the long-term illnesses than persons with a basic or lower education of the same age.

Morbidity risk dependent on education is higher for men than for women, whereas age plays no role as there are more elderly people among women than among men. Education has a bigger impact on people’s health behavior in rural areas than in urban areas. In urban areas the morbidity of persons with basic education is 24 percent and in rural areas 44 percent higher than the respective indicator of persons with a higher education.
The healthiest people live in the counties with the youngest population – Harju and Rapla counties where less than a quarter of the people have long-term illnesses, but these counties have the least health problems that restrict everyday activities.

Most long-term illnesses can be found in counties near Lake Peipsi – Polva, Jogeva and Ida-Viru counties (respectively 43 percent, 40 percent and 38 percent of the county’s population). In these counties, but also in Voru and Valga counties, health problems restrict people’s everyday activities the most; more than a fifth of the population feel very much restricted, whereas there are limitations of everyday activities due to health problems at a rate higher than the Estonian average in all social groups, including children and students.