Education and Functional Literacy as Social Determinants of Health Analytical Essay

Education and Functional Literacy as Social Determinants of Health
An analysis of the problems raised by low levels of educational attainment and low functional literacy for personal and public health, along with recommended solutions for addressing the problems.
# 148110 | 2,501 words | 13 sources | APA | 2011 | CA

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This paper examines the impact of education and functional literacy on personal and public health from a socio-political perspective. After a brief overview of the general influence that educational attainment has on an individual's health, the paper discusses six specific pathways by which low levels of education serve as barriers to the maintenance of good health at both the personal and public levels. The paper concludes with recommendations for addressing the problems raised by limited educational attainment and functional literacy for personal and public health. The six recommendations fall into two broad categories: education-related strategies and health-related strategies.

General influences of education on health
Specific pathways that link education to health
Lifestyle choices and health related behaviors
Compliance with instruction and adherence to medical regimens
Psychosocial status
Residential segregation
Environmental hazards
Strategies for addressing specific issues in education and health
Education related strategies
Health related strategies

From the Paper:

"There is increasing evidence that education influences lifestyle choices and health-related behaviours, such as exercise, smoking, and diet (Lodi-Smith et al., 2010, p. 306; Power & Hertzman, 1999, p. 47). A study by Kubzansky et al. (1998) found that the incidence of smoking decreased sharply as the level of educational attainment increased and that more highly educated individuals tended to be more physically active and have a lower body mass index (BMI), suggesting that they maintained a healthier diet (p. 582)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Chandola, T., Clarke, P., Morris, J. N., & Blane, D. (2006). Pathways between education and health: A causal modelling approach. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 169(2), 337-359.
  • Goldman D. & Smith P. (2002). Can patient self-management help explain the SES health gradient? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America, 99(16), 10929-10934.
  • Hertzman, C. (1999). Population health and human development. In D. P. Keating & C. Hertzman (Eds.), Developmental health and the wealth of nations: Social, biological, and education dynamics (pp. 21-40). New York, NY: Guilford.
  • Kubzansky L. D., Berkman, L. F, Glass, T. A., & Seeman, T. E. (1998). Is educational attainment associated with shared determinants of health in the elderly? Findings from the MacArthur Studies of Successful Aging. Psychosomatic Medicine, 60(5), 578-585.
  • Lodi-Smith, J., Jackson, J., Bogg, T., Walton, K., Wood, D., Harms, P., & Roberts, B. W. (2010). Mechanisms of health: Education and health-related behaviours partially mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and self-reported physical health. Psychology and Health, 25(3), 305-319.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Education and Functional Literacy as Social Determinants of Health (2011, August 31) Retrieved June 03, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Education and Functional Literacy as Social Determinants of Health" 31 August 2011. Web. 03 June. 2023. <>