LONDON — Giving young women an education resulted in saving the lives of more than 4 million children worldwide in 2009, a study says.
American researchers analyzed 915 censuses and surveys from 175 countries tracking education, economic growth, HIV rates, and child deaths from 1970 to 2009.
By using statistical models, the researchers found that for every extra year of education women had, the death rate for children under 5 dropped by almost 10 percent. In 2009, they estimated that 4.2 million fewer children died because women of childbearing age in developing countries were more educated.
In 1970, women aged 18 to 44 in developing countries went to school for about two years. That rose to seven years in 2009.
The study was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was published in the British medical journal Lancet.
“Investments in education pay off (by providing) better health in the future,’’ said Emmanuela Gakidou, an associate professor at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and the study’s lead author.
Educated women tend to use health services more and often make better choices on hygiene, nutrition, and parenting.