HealthDay News — Student debt has an impact on long-term cardiovascular risk and chronic inflammation, according to a study published online May 3 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Adam M. Lippert, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado Denver, and colleagues collected nationally representative data from more than 4,000 participants of a U.S. cohort study to examine the effect of change in student debt between adulthood and early midlife on cardiovascular risk, measured using the 30-year Framingham cardiovascular disease risk scores, and chronic inflammation.
The researchers found that compared with participants in households that were either never in debt or repaid their loans, those in households that became indebted or were consistently in debt between young adulthood and early midlife had higher cardiovascular disease risks and C-reactive protein levels. After adjustment for degree completion, socioeconomic measures, and other sources of debt, this pattern persisted.
“Our study respondents came of age and went to college at a time when student debt was rapidly rising with an average debt of around $25,000 for four-year college graduates. It’s risen more since then, leaving young cohorts with more student debt than any before them,” Lippert said in a statement. “Unless something is done to reduce the costs of going to college and forgive outstanding debts, the health consequences of climbing student loan debt are likely to grow.”