Reading can add a chapter to your life

August 5, 2016 Providence Health Team

A new study says people who read books tend to live longer than those who don’t. Almost two years longer, in fact.

The researchers say readers have “a survival advantage” over non-readers.

The study examined data for 3,635 people over the age of 50 who had reported their reading habits in an earlier study. It found those who read books – not just newspapers and magazines – had almost a 20 percent lower risk of death over 12 years of follow-up data.

Adjusting for other factors

Investigators determined that book readers generally tend to be well-educated women with relatively high incomes. So they adjusted for such factors as age, sex, race, education, wealth, marital status and depression.

Even after controlling for variables, they found that people who read books lived longer.

“The benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them,” the researchers wrote. 

Health benefits of reading

Health experts have long touted the ways that reading can help keep you healthy. For example, reading can:

Read on

The study was described in the journal Social Science & Medicine. An abstract of the study is available at the ScienceDirect website.

Do you want to start reading, or reading more? Visit Open Library, an editable library catalog that guides you to more than 1 million free ebooks and contains lists, information about authors and more. The project, partly funded by the California State Library, is built on the Wikipedia model, meaning anyone can contribute to or edit information.

If you’d like help staying active and intellectually engaged, talk to your provider about a plan that includes reading. Providence providers want to help give you a survival advantage – find one here.

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