A new study suggests that individuals who read a lot of books may end up living longer than those who don’t read regularly. The said study was conducted by researchers from Yale University School of Public Health. They found a link present between increased longevity and reading more books.
The study implies that a “significant survival advantage” may be present in people who read a lot of books. A total of 3,635 participants were examined by researchers in the study and they were asked to answer numerous questions about reading. The collected data was then divided into three groups. These groups included people who read books up to 3 and a half hours per week, people who read more than 3 and a half hours per week, and people who didn’t read books at all.
The data also showed that the majority of people who did read books were female, college-educated, and had higher incomes compared to the other participants. The researchers added controls for these three factors as well as for age, depression, race, enjoyment, marital status, and self-reported health.
After compiling and observing all of the data the results presented by the study showed that over the 12-year follow-up period book readers that read up to 3 and a half hours per week were 17% less likely to die. It also showed that the individuals who read books more than 3 and a half hours per week were seen to be 23% less likely to die. The findings suggested that people who read books were likely to live an average of two years longer when compared to people who didn’t read books. However, the study didn’t report distinguishing between reading digital and physical copies of books.
With a lot of people opting to read digital copies of books more research is required in order to see if reading digital copies is better than reading physical copies or if their effects are the same.
Researchers also found a link between longevity and people who read newspapers and periodicals. But the rate was observed to be weaker.
Becca Levy, an Epidemiology Professor and the senior author of the current study, said that a “significant survival advantage” was seen in the participants who reported reading books at least half an hour daily when compared to others. “The survival advantage remained after adjusting for wealth, education, cognitive ability and many other variables.”
The study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, did not establish a ‘cause-and-effect’ relationship between reading books and longevity. What it did was simply provide an association between the two.
Numerous studies have presented results that show that a person’s life can be affected by reading. In a 2008 study, conducted by the Prison Reform Trust, a below Level 1 reading level was seen in 48% of the prisoners in the UK. The results suggested a link between criminality and illiteracy. Another research, conducted by Guglielmo Wiber, suggested that kids who had more access to books experienced more benefits than kids who didn’t.
While an association between reading books and living longer is something to be happy about for people who love to read, more research is required in order to find out the true relationship between the two.