Educational quality may be a closer correlate of cardiometabolic health than educational attainment
Educational quality may be a closer correlate of physical health than more commonly used measures of educational attainment (e.g., years in school). We examined whether a widely-used performance-based measure of educational quality is more closely associated with cardiometabolic health than educational attainment (highest level of education completed), and whether perceived control (smaller sample only), executive functioning (both samples), and health literacy (smaller sample only) link educational quality to cardiometabolic health. In two samples (N = 98 and N = 586) collected from different regions of the US, educational quality was associated with cardiometabolic health above and beyond educational attainment, other demographic factors (age, ethnoracial category, sex), and fluid intelligence. Counter to expectations, neither perceived control, executive function, nor health literacy significantly mediated the association between educational quality and cardiometabolic health. Findings add to the growing literature suggesting that current operationalizations of the construct of education likely underestimate the association between education and multiple forms of health. To the extent that educational programs may have been overlooked based on the apparent size of associations with outcomes, such actions may have been premature.