Scientists find a new good reason to read more books
There is good news for everyone who likes to read books a lot. Researchers found that reading can save us from premature death. Those who read regularly may live much longer.
Does it affect our lifespan if we read a book regularly? Scientists from the internationally recognized Yale University have now found that people who read books more often live longer. The experts published the results of their study in the journal "Social Science & Medicine".
20 percent lower risk of death in the study period
Reading has many positive effects on us humans. It promotes imagination and creativity, helps us to escape everyday life and enables us to learn new knowledge. But apparently reading has other positive effects. The researchers claim that people who read books more often have a survival advantage than non-readers. In their study, doctors found that readers of books had a 20 percent reduction in the risk of death over the 12-year period.
Study examines 3,635 participants over a twelve-year period
For their study, the scientists examined the data from 3,635 subjects. All volunteers were at least 50 years old. The subjects were divided into three groups for the study, the experts say. One group consisted of people who read no books at all. The second group included subjects who read up to 3.5 hours a week. The last group read more than 3.5 hours each week, the doctors add.
Significant survival advantage
The study found a remarkable result. People who read books regularly lived longer than people who don't read at all. During the twelve-year study, readers of books lived almost two years longer than non-readers, the authors explain. In other words, not only healthy eating and adequate exercise promote our health and life expectancy, book readers also enjoy a significant survival advantage, the authors of the study explained.
Half an hour of reading a day already increases life expectancy
If the subjects had read more than 3.5 hours a week, their likelihood of death over the next twelve years decreased by about 23 percent. If the participants read up to 3.5 hours a week (about half an hour a day), their probability of death was reduced by up to 17 percent. In their study, the scientists also considered variables such as the level of education, the income and the general state of health of the test subjects.
Reading improves connectivity and empathy
The reasons for these positive effects of reading books are still unclear. The study found only a connection between reading and our longevity, but no causal relationship, the scientists say. However, the results are not really that surprising. Other research has already shown that reading books improves both our brain connectivity and empathy, doctors add.
People in India read the most
When it comes to reading books, Americans are just in the top 25 worldwide, the authors say. People read the most in countries like India, Thailand and China. The United States ranks 23rd, behind countries such as Egypt, Australia, Turkey and Germany.
Reading newspapers unfortunately has no health benefits
In their research, the researchers also found that while reading books does bring longevity benefits, reading newspapers or magazines does not provide that benefit. (as)