Every topic that we address can be assessed in terms of the social determinants of health. Sleep, stress, colds, flu, food, relationships, sexual decisions and violence are shaped by social factors including stress related to social status, and access to resources.
People who complete college live longer, and if they are women, their children live longer. So the associaltion between higher education and longevity is clear, and persistence and completion in higher education is a significant equity issue. Factors that shape students' persistence have a long term impact on the length and quality of their lives.
From a public health viewpoint, supporting educational attainment for a critical mass of people in various communities supports health at a population level.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "Health equity concerns those disparities in public health that can be traced to unequal, systemic economic and social conditions. Despite significant improvements in the health of the overall population, health inequities in America persist. Racial and ethnic minorities continue to experience higher rates of morbidity and mortality than nonminorities across a range of health issues. For example, African-American children with asthma have a seven times greater mortality rate than Non-Hispanic White children with the illness. While cancer is the second leading cause of death among all populations in the U.S., ethnic minorities are especially burdened with the disease."