As I discussed in a previous blog post, education is also related to health literacy. To reiterate some of the statistics from that piece, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy targeted a portion of its latest assessment using health care related questions. The study found that among adults who never completed high school, approximately 49% had below basic health literacy, compared to 15% of adults who completed a high school diploma with no post-secondary education and just 3% of adults with a bachelor's degree. Low health literacy can inhibit someone's ability to read health pamphlets, follow medication instructions, make medical decisions when caring for a loved one, understand post-operative instructions, or complete other similar tasks.
In another related post, I described some of the connections between food insecurity and obesity. Since food insecurity is a socioeconomic issue, and lack of education is a predictor of lower earnings, these problems are a likely link between education and health. Some of the issues I discussed in more detail in that post include fewer full service grocery stores in lower income neighborhoods, lower quality produce, a greater prevalence of fast food, fewer parks or recreation centers, and less access to health care, among other concerns.
I believe that Santorum was misguided in his Obama name-calling on the higher education topic. He was speaking to a crowd in Detroit, and it seems likely to me that he was catering to his audience. I'm not even going to get into Santorum's campaign goals from past years related to higher education (but please do Google the topic - he used to think college was a good idea). Suffice it to say that a quick glance at Santorum's own life and credentials makes it clear that his education got him where he is today and that he intends to provide the same for his children (just like 94% of parents hope for their own kids, as mentioned above).
As LZ Granderson of CNN put it, "Granted, some of us are gullible enough to give each other high-fives because Rick Santorum called Obama a snob for promoting a college education. But the rest of us look at 'Slick Rick's' college degree, law degree and MBA, and the fact that he's sending his kids to college and owns at least six properties, and has earned millions, and wonder - What is he talking about?"
I have been wondering that myself.