School Can Be Damaging To Your Health

When some of us were young, we were told that ‘schooldays are the happiest days of our lives’ and none of us believed it. Maybe we wished it was true, but the phrase was always trotted out when we were teed-off with the system and would have happily torched the school if our matches hadn’t got wet through those hours of running around the playing fields in the rain.

To an honored few, the phrase may have struck a chord. To many of us nondescripts, it just added to our confusion as we wandered from class to class to find we’d never seem to bring the right books or correct assignment. Some too, will tell you that they had a really bad time.

The net result, as I recall, was that most of us heaved a sigh of relief as we left the cloistered discipline of school for all the excitement of the adult world.  We may look back and think maybe it wasn’t so bad, but I’ve met very few who would rush back in their time machine to the terror of the red pen on your essay. But it is really peer relations that we remember as a general background, and the question arises as to how these set you up for later in life.

If we neglect the privileged few who will join the Wall Street mafia and concentrate on the 99% the question arises how did our school experiences effect our lives in middle age? A Swedish group from Umeå U have pulled the records of 881 43-year olds and compared them to how well they got on with their peers at age 16.

The analysis had to have lots of adjustments, weightings and other statistician’s legerdemains before it was allowed into the light of day. The results are clear, though. Having a bad time with your peer group in your teen age years at school is not only damaging to your health then, but sets you up for the dreaded state of metabolic syndrome in middle age.

Metabolic syndrome isn’t just a euphemism for middle-aged spread, but it includes diabetes, heart disease as well as obesity, so this is really bad news. So next time you’re struggling in the gym to reduce your waist size, just picture that class bully and what you are going to say to them at your next high school reunion. Perhaps we should warn our kids that like smoking, school can be damaging to your health.


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