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Approved Research

Evaluating the causal effects of education on the health outcomes among different subpopulations in the UK Biobank

Principal Investigator: Dr Bo Wei
Approved Research ID: 82278
Approval date: June 21st 2022

Lay summary

Research question: what are the causal effects of education on health outcomes with different health conditions, such as high BMI or high blood pressure?

Outcomes: IQ, BMI, height, blood pressure and other health outcomes

Exposure: Education.

Synopsis: On average, people with more years of education live longer and are healthier. However, it is unclear whether education have the same effect across population with different health conditions. For example, more educated people have lower BMI in the population. However, we do not know whether such an association still exists among people with high BMI. We will evaluate this hypothesis using statistical techniques to evaluate the effect of education among targeted subpopulations. Moreover, low education is a major risk factor for a wide range of diseases, such as obesity and high blood pressure. We will use data from the UK biobank to improve our understanding of how individuals' educational choices early in life affect their long-term health outcomes. Ultimately, knowledge from this project will help public health experts to gain insights about the differences among different subpopulations. We will use data on all individuals from the UK biobank and investigate the differences in health outcomes by duration of education. We will present results adjusted for known confounders, such as income and cognition. We will use the raising of the school leaving age in 1972 as a natural experiment (called an instrumental variable) for educational achievement to identify the causal effects of education.  We will use super-quantile regression method to evaluate the effect of education on the specified subpopulations, such as those of high BMI or high blood pressure.