Sydney, Dec 18 : People who leave school without a school certificate are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as those with a university degree, researchers said.
"The lower your education, the more likely you are to have a heart attack or a stroke - that's the disturbing but clear finding," said lead researcher Rosemary Korda, research fellow at the Australian National University (ANU).
The study found that in adults aged 45-64 years, heart attack rates more than doubled (nearly 150 per cent higher) among those with no educational qualifications than among people with a university degree.
The risk was around two-thirds (70 per cent) higher among those with intermediate levels of education or non-university qualifications as good education impacts long term health by influencing what type of job you have, where you live and what food choices you make.
Middle-aged adults who had not completed high school were 50 per cent and with non-university qualifications were 20 per cent more likely to have a first stroke than those with a university degree.
A similar pattern of inequality also existed between household income and cardiovascular disease events, Korda said.
The research provides an opportunity to further unpack the specific relationship between educational achievement and cardiovascular disease risk, and what can be done to reduce this risk, the researchers said.
For the study, researchers investigated the links between education and cardiovascular disease events (such as a heart attack or stroke) by following 267,153 men and women in New South Wales aged over 45, for over five years.