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Article

High School Composition and Health Outcomes in Adulthood: A Cohort Study

1
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA
2
School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
3
Departments of Epidemiology & Population Health and Medicine, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073799
Received: 3 March 2021 / Revised: 31 March 2021 / Accepted: 2 April 2021 / Published: 6 April 2021
Background: A multitude of empirical evidence documents links between education and health, but this focuses primarily on educational attainment and not on characteristics of the school setting. Little is known about the extent to which aggregate characteristics of the school setting, such as student body demographics, are associated with adult health outcomes. Methods: We use the U.S. nationally representative National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort to statistically assess the association between two different measures of high school student composition (socioeconomic composition, racial/ethnic composition) and two different health outcomes at age 40 (self-rated health and obesity). Results: After adjusting for confounders, high school socioeconomic composition, but not racial/ethnic composition, was weakly associated with both obesity and worse self-rated health at age 40. However, after adding adult educational attainment to the model, only the association between high school socioeconomic composition and obesity remained statistically significant. Conclusions: Future research should explore possible mechanisms and also if findings are similar across other populations and in other school contexts. These results suggest that education policies that seek to break the link between socioeconomic composition and negative outcomes remain important but may have few spillover effects onto health. View Full-Text
Keywords: USA; educational status; obesity; self-rated health; social determinants of health; social epidemiology; school composition USA; educational status; obesity; self-rated health; social determinants of health; social epidemiology; school composition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cohen, A.K.; Ozer, E.J.; Rehkopf, D.H.; Abrams, B. High School Composition and Health Outcomes in Adulthood: A Cohort Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3799. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073799

AMA Style

Cohen AK, Ozer EJ, Rehkopf DH, Abrams B. High School Composition and Health Outcomes in Adulthood: A Cohort Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(7):3799. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073799

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cohen, Alison K.; Ozer, Emily J.; Rehkopf, David H.; Abrams, Barbara. 2021. "High School Composition and Health Outcomes in Adulthood: A Cohort Study" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 7: 3799. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073799

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