3,635 people aged 60 and up were studied in regards to their health. The study was undertaken by the Yale University School of Public Health, and researchers there found that the questions about reading habits provided some surprising results.
They divided their 60-and-uppers into 3 groups based on different amounts of reading they did.
Here’s what they found:
“Although books can expose people to new people and places, whether books also have health benefits beyond other types of reading materials is not known. This study examined whether those who read books have a survival advantage over those who do not read books and over those who read other types of materials, and if so, whether cognition mediates this book reading effect.”
They adjusted for relevant covariates including age, sex, race, education, comorbidities, self-rated health, wealth, marital status, and depression.
“Book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines. Compared to non-book readers, book readers had a 23-month survival advantage at the point of 80% survival in the unadjusted model. A survival advantage persisted after adjustment for all covariates, indicating book readers experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow up compared to non-book readers.
“Cognition mediated the book reading-survival advantage. These findings suggest that the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.”
So a 20% better chance of not dying in the 12 years following the data collection for the readers over the non-readers.