Perhaps it seems intuitive, but that’s probably because you, too, were the captain of your high school’s debate team, or the leading AV squad member, or that guy with the tape on his glasses who was super-awesome at trigonometry. Science has said it, though, and it must be so! If you got As in high school, you’re likely to be a healthier adult.
You are also more likely to make billions off the computer company you started in your own garage, to marry someone hot who loves you for your mind, and, despite all that, to never really fully get over being pantsed in the playground in fifth grade.
Still, good news! You’ll probably live longer, because all those As made you healthy. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison interviewed more 10,000 graduates of a Wisconsin high school class of 1957, asking them six separate times about their work, lives, families, and health.
Findings showed that the higher a study participant’s high school rank was, the lower the probability that participant experienced worsening health between 1992 and 2003, when the class members neared retirement age.
But, less intuitively, it wasn’t that the A students were simply more conscientious in general, and therefore also so about their health. Instead, “what we’re seeing is what you learn in school may actually matter for your health,” said Pamela Herd, associate professor at U of W-M. Which means skipping Algebra 3 to hang out with the cool crowd that one time may have had disastrous consequences.
As for those who got straight As in high school and have been on a downward spiral ever since for no apparent reason, we feel you.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 9, 2010