Health and educational success in adolescents: a longitudinal study





BMC public health;15(1)


BioMed Central



Background Health in childhood and adolescence is a matter of contention. This article examines how infant and adolescent health act together with parental SES, health-related behaviour and academic factors to generate differences in the early life course with regard to later enrolment in higher education. Methods We used a questionnaire on health, The Oslo Health Study, which was linked to register data that provided detailed information on educational outcomes over time; and the Medical Birth Registry of Norway, which provided information on health at birth. Results It was found in the unadjusted results that infant health measures had a positive association with enrolment in higher education. After adjustment for adolescent health, there was still evidence that infant health are associated with enrolment in higher education. However, this association disappeared when parental socio-economic status (SES) was included in the model. Health in adolescents remains a significant and strong predictor of enrolment in higher education after adjusting for parental SES. However, the relationship between adolescent health and enrolment in higher education was reduced and became nonsignificant when adjustments were made to the health behaviour of the adolescents and their relationship with their families. Future educational expectations and good grades in grade 10 are strong predictors of enrolment in higher education. Conclusions There are lower odds of enrolment in higher education for infants of low birthweight. However, this result seems to reflect the fact that parental SES correlate with both infant health and enrolment in higher education. Adolescent health are associated with enrolment in higher education, even after adjusting for parental SES. However, a considerable proportion of this association seems to be attributable to health-related behaviour and the relationship of the adolescent with his or her family.



© 2015 Brekke. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Permanent URL