Washington: Turns out, parents' education matters more than their income when it comes to their child's health.
The findings of the Rutgers University study appeared in the journal Southern Economic Association.
Lead researchers, Alan Monheit and Irina Grafova, found that parental education beyond 12 years is associated with increases in family health care spending and decreases in specific health conditions and poor health status, including hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.
According to Monheit and Grafova, higher parental education was associated with increased total health care spending on both children and parents, and was also associated with sizable increases on ambulatory care spending for both family types.
The study also found that families headed by single mothers who had higher levels of education spent more for prescription drugs and dental care while two-parent families with more education spent more for dental care and mental health services.
"Our study confirms the important association between the educational attainment of parents and the family's access to and use of health care services," said Monheit.
The study's findings support the well-established "Grossman model of health demand," in which health is a "good" that is inherited and increased by investments beyond the price of medical care, and depreciates over time as someone's health naturally deteriorates over time.
This study thus supports the critical association between education and monetary investments in health.