High School Grades May Influence Health

Some of us have fonder memories of high school than others.  During these years when transition from childhood to adulthood and try to find our own respective identity along the way.  Over these formative years, teenagers have to cope with both pressure from their parents and peers alike.

Now comfortably in my thirties, I’m old enough to say things like “back when I was in high school.”  In addition to the always present serious issues like teenage pregnancies or substance abuse, teens today now have to manage Facebook profiles, check their email, text their friends, and still find time to do things like play Call of Duty, Black Ops.  Many still also somehow find time to engage in team sports such as hockey, football, or baseball.

New research suggests that our grades in high school may be even more important that was once thought.  Sure many of us already know that our grades in high school play an enormous role in determining our educational and career trajectories later in life, but research highlights other areas where our grades may have an impact.

Previous research has already confirmed the link between our grades in high school and our future educational attainment.  To me, this connection seems pretty self-evident.

Recently published in the Journal of Social Health and Behavior[1], researchers have found an apparent connection between high school grades and health later in life. Specifically, they essentially found that better grades in high school were associated with better health near retirement age.

Data was analyzed from the Wisconsin Longitudinal study which included over 10,000 graduates from Wisconsin’s 1957 graduating class.

Patricia Herd, an associate professor of public affairs and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who was one of the study authors was quoted as saying:

“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.”

One important distinction that the researchers found was that these findings could not be explained simply by students with better grades simply being more conscientious than their peers.  To reiterate, the researchers found that academic performance itself, not just higher educational attainment, is strongly associated with health later in life.


  1. Education and Health in Late-life among High School Graduates: Cognitive versus Psychological Aspects of Human Capital.

2 thoughts on “High School Grades May Influence Health

  • December 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    wow, its really great information. I don’t know if High school grade can affect our health. And I hope it doesn’t give me bad effect :p


    • December 12, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Hey Zack, I wouldn’t worry too much. This type of research points more to predictable trends in populations and doesn’t apply as much at the level of individuals. Either way, we’re all responsible for taking ownership of our health which means making healthy choices.


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