Background. Education is usually associated with improvement in health; there is evidence that this may not be the case if education is not fully utilised at work. This study examines the relationship between education level, occupation, and health outcomes of individuals in rural Malaysia. Results. The study finds that the incidence of chronic diseases and high blood pressure are higher for tertiary educated individuals in agriculture and construction occupations. This brings these individuals into more frequent contact with the health system. These occupations are marked with generally lower levels of education and contain fewer individuals with higher levels of education. Conclusions. Education is not always associated with better health outcomes. In certain occupations, greater education seems related to increased chronic disease and contact with the health system, which is the case for workers in agriculture in rural Malaysia. Agriculture is the largest sector of employment in rural Malaysia but with relatively few educated individuals. For the maintenance and sustainability of productivity in this key rural industry, health monitoring and job enrichment policies should be encouraged by government agencies to be part of the agenda for employers in these sectors.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.