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Yale Study Says Reading Books Can Help You Live Longer

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It turns out bookworms don’t just get increased knowledge and vocabulary from reading books, they also tend to live a bit longer, a recent study suggests.

According to a research published online last month in Social Science & Health, reading books may have a direct link to an extended lifespan, reported Quartz. However, while reading magazines or newspapers posed a positive association with longevity, it reportedly did not provide the same effect.

After studying data collected between 1992 and 2012 of 3,635 Americans above 50 years old, a Yale University public health research group discovered that those who regularly read books lived longer lives.

The review made adjustments, keeping a variety of factors under control, such as, age, sex, race, education, wealth, marital status, and depression.

The research team found that book readers were 20% less likely to die over the 12 years of follow up, compared to non-book readers. The study further estimates that reading books generally extends the life of a person for an extra 23 months.

According to the researchers, the development of a person’s cognitive abilities due to reading books, positively affected a person’s lifespan.

“We found that book reading provides more of a survival advantage than reading newspapers or magazines,” research team leader Avni Bavishi, told CBS News. “We believe this is because books offer stronger cognitive engagement because they’re longer and there are more characters, more plots to follow, and more connections to make.”

It is worth to note, however, that while the study shows correlation, it does not prove causation. Linking the same outcome to the younger populations is also not yet determined.

The research team expressed that in future studies, they would like to look at a variety of books and how a particular kind affects longevity.

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