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Diplomas should be health issue



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WASHINGTON, Oct 05, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A University of Rochester teacher says not graduating from high school should be treated as a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Kevin Fiscella and colleagues, in a study summarized in the September/October issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine, says patients who have not finished high school have a 2.4 percent higher risk of dying of coronary heart disease than those with more schooling.

His findings were drawn from a prospective cohort study of 6,479 adults aged 25 to 74 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and for whom ascertainment of risk factors and 10-year status was available.

The authors point out that the risk associated with low education level is comparable in magnitude to many of the traditional risk factors, including cholesterol level, smoking status, sex and age, which are included in the current treatment guidelines.

The authors suggest that use of low education level to identify persons at higher risk of CHD, who are not otherwise identifiable under current guidelines, may facilitate progress toward individualized treatment and the elimination of socioeconomic disparities in health.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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