In adults aged 45-64 years, heart attack rates among those with no educational qualifications were more than double those of people with a university degree. People who leave school without a school certificate are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as those with a university degree, a new study has warned. Researchers from Sax Institute in Australia investigated the links between education and cardiovascular disease events – such as a heart attack or stroke – by following 267,153 men and women in the state of New South Wales aged over 45. “The lower your education, the more likely you are to have a heart attack or a stroke – that is the disturbing but clear finding from our research,” said Rosemary Korda from the Australian National University (ANU). “Our study found that in adults aged 45-64 years, heart attack rates among those with no educational qualifications were more than double (around 150 per cent higher) those of people with a university degree,” said Korda. The risk was around two-thirds (70 per cent) higher among those with intermediate levels of education (non-university qualifications). “Mid-age adults who had not completed high school were 50 per cent more likely to have a first stroke than those with a university degree; those with intermediate levels of education (non-university qualifications) were 20 per cent more likely,” said Korda. A similar pattern of inequality existed between household income and cardiovascular disease events, said Korda. “What these differences in cardiovascular disease rates between more and less disadvantaged groups show us is just how much cardiovascular disease in the population can be prevented,” Korda added. “We know that a good education impacts long term health by influencing what type of job you have, where you live and what food choices you make,” said Kerry Doyle from Heart Foundation New South Wales in Australia. “This research provides an opportunity to further unpack the specific relationship between educational achievement and cardiovascular disease risk, and what can be done to reduce this risk,” she said.The study was published in the International Journal for Equity in Health.