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Reading Books Leads To A Longer Life

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Reading books might just help people live longer, a new report suggests. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the Harry Potter series or Shakespeare — what’s important is the time spent reading, The New York Times reports.

A research team at the Yale University School of Public Health analyzed data on 3,635 people 60 years old and more, who had participated in a health survey that included questions on reading habits.

The participants were separated into three sample groups: those who said they read up to three and a half hours weekly, those who read more than three and a half hours, and those who never opened a book at all.

The researchers found that book readers, in general, were female, had college educations and came from higher income families. They then controlled for those factors, including age, race, employment, marital status, self-reported health conditions, and depression.

In over 12 years of follow-up, those who read for up to three and a half hours per week were 17% less likely to die than those who did not read at all, and those who read for more than three and a half hours were 23% less likely to die, the research stated. And on average, book readers lived for almost two years more than non-readers.

The study found a similar link among the people who read periodicals and newspapers, but the data was weaker than the results on books.

Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology ay Yale, says,

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.

She adds that the longevity remained the same even after several variables were adjusted, suggesting that reading books are, indeed, good for overall well-being.

The study was published in Social Science & Medicine.

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