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HEALTH BEING BROUGHT UP POOR LEADS TO POORER HEALTH OUTCOMES IN ADULTHOOD It’s a well-known problem: children who were brought up in poor families have more health problems later in life. Health problems include high blood pressure, impaired regulation of blood sugar, and a high body mass. These symptoms are referred to as metabolic syndrome and can precede chronic problems such as diabetes and heart disease. To understand how socioeconomic status affects health, it is important to look at poor children who became healthy adults. A study analyzing differences between healthy and unhealthy adults coming from poor families suggests that the mother plays an important role. In this research, medical data was analyzed from 1,215 adults (mean age 46) in 1995-1996 and again a decade later (when 1,200 adults returned). Socioeconomic status was inferred by the educational attainment of the parents. First of all, the study replicated earlier findings in showing that adults with better health tended to come from families who were better off. Children who grew up in families in which neither of the parents had a high school diploma, had a 1.4 higher chance to have metabolic syndrome as adults compared to children whose parents had a college degree. There was one exception: people from poor families with nurturing mothers were not more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than people whose families were not poor. Nurturing moms are moms who devote attention to the emotional well-being of their children, have time for them and show affection and caring. It seems that children with nurturing moms have reduced stress levels and are better able to cope with stress which has a positive influence on their health as they grow into adulthood. The research, conducted by a multidisciplinary team led by psychologist Gregory Miller of University of

British Columbia, will be published in the journal Psychological Science. The research shows the importance that children learn how to cope with negative outcomes. Although the present research focused on the role of the mother, children can also learn these coping strategies from others close to them, such as their father, grandparents or their school teachers. As an example, in the Netherlands a new training program has been made available for Dutch secondary schools to help children develop a positive self-image and cope with negative outcomes. View more info here.

EDUCATION SINGLE-SEX SCHOOLING ONLY MAKES THINGS WORSE In recent years, while single-sex schooling has become increasingly popular, it also remains highly debated. The discussion on segregated schooling is prompted by the differing school performances of boys and girls. For instance, boys tend to perform better in math while girls tend to perform better at language. Furthermore, boys tend to drop out of school more often and generally (besides in math) perform worse than girls. In addition, it is argued that the brains of boys and girls are different and develop at different rates.

For some, single-sex teaching is seen as a solution to dealing with these differences, leading to better 37

educational outcomes for both boys and girls. However, based on a major review of evidence for single-sex education published in Science, researchers claim that segregated schooling does not lead to improved school performances for boys and girls. In fact, in most studies, segregated schools performed equally well as mixed sex schools. Also, segregated schooling increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism, according to researcher Diane Halpern. In a context where boys and girls do not mingle and interact with each other in positive ways, the other sex will become an outgroup instead of being part of the ingroup. This will trigger the development of more stereotypical views because segregation based on gender will make gender differences more salient. This salience will reinforce stereotypical views and sexism. Stepping aside from the scientific evidence on segregated schooling, the question is also if segregated schooling is desirable from a moral stance. There are ample examples in history where people were segregated based just on their sex, race or religion. Instead of segregating boys and girls, other ways could be sought to boost their performances in an educational setting where boys and girls are mixed and can learn from each other.


Remarkable Research / Health - Education