Do you enjoy curling up with a book but worry about leaving chores undone
as you indulge in a printed escape? You now can leave the guilt behind,
because a recently published study at the Yale University School of Public
Health found that people who read books tend to live longer–almost
two years longer– than non-book readers.
The study examined whether people who read books have a survival advantage
over both people who do not read books, or read other materials such as
newspapers and magazines. It included 3,635 participants age 50 and older
who provided information about their reading habits, and then looked at
their survival rates 12 years later.
Since most book readers are educated women with relatively high incomes,
researchers adjusted the data for various factors such as age, sex, race,
education, wealth, marital status and depression.
The results? The people who read books, had an almost 20 percent lower
risk of death compared to non-book readers, with a 23-month survival advantage.
The study found that “books are protective regardless of gender,
wealth, education or health.”
Known health benefits of reading include:
Help in keeping the brain from declining as people age
Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Inspiring others, especially children, to read
Making one better-informed
Expanding one’s vocabulary
Leading to a lifetime of higher earnings for young people
“Book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly
greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines,”
researchers stated. “These findings suggest that the benefits of
reading books include a longer life in which to read them.”