Research Ties Reading to Living Longer

Do you have trouble getting into reading? Do you find it hard to read for fun? Well, if so, you may be more likely to live a shorter life according to a study published in the journal Social Science.

According to the study, which was cited in a recent article in The New York Times, reading is associated with a greater life expectancy. In the study, scientists asked 3,635 participants over the age of 50 a series of questions about reading. The scientists measured people who did not read books, those who read up to three and a half hours a week, and those who read more than three and a half hours a week.

Ultimately, they identified groups who tend to read more: females, College educated persons, and those who earn higher incomes. Researchers controlled other factors in the study such as age, race, self-reported health, employment, and marital status.

Compared to those who do not read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over the course of 12 years that followed the scientists’ initial collection of data for the study. And participants who read more than three and a half hours a week were 23 percent less likely to die.

Scientists also found a weaker, but similar, association among those who frequently read newspapers and periodicals.

Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale University, said, “people who report as little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read.”

Many people may find reading boring. That being said, finding books that match your interests and engaging your imagination can help reading become a fun hobby. For those of you who do not read often, try it; it may just help you live a longer life.

[Source: The New York Times]