THURSDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Good grades in high school
might not just help the mind, they might help the body, too.
A new study finds that high school students who get good grades
are also likely to be healthier as adults.
Researchers analyzed data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study,
which includes more than 10,000 graduates of Wisconsin's high
school class of 1957 who have been interviewed numerous times over
the past 53 years about their work, life, family and health.
The team found that the higher the participants' high school
marks, the lower the likelihood that they experienced worsening
health between 1992 and 2003, when they were approaching retirement
The study appears in the December issue of the
Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
The researchers originally thought the finding could be
explained partly by "conscientiousness" -- that is, a conscientious
student might simply be more conscientious about his or her health
-- but the data did not support that conclusion.
"How well you do in school matters. We already know it matters for things like your work and your earnings, but this proves it also matters for your health," study author Pamela Herd, an associate professor of public affairs and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in an American Sociological Association news release.
The findings may have public policy implications, she added.
Because the study looked at participants' grades, "that tells us
something about the consequences of emphasizing test scores over
academic performance, for example, and further speaks to the
importance of schooling," Herd said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians explains how
common behaviors affect your health.