Reading books may add years to your life – Harvard Health

Can flavonoids help fend off forgetfulness?
Can physical or cognitive activity prevent dementia?
Wondering how much your medical care will cost? New rules could help
Long-lasting healthy changes: Doable and worthwhile
The sore throat checklist: What parents need to know
A new treatment for obesity
Remember the flu? Yep, it’s that time again
3 ways to build brain-boosting social connections
Grandparenting: Ready to move for family?
Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re breastfeeding?
Healthy Aging
reading adds years to your life
 Image: Wavebreakmedia/Thinkstock
We all know that books can enrich our lives, but do they have health benefits as well? And if so, does reading books have greater health advantages than reading newspapers or magazines? Researchers at Yale University School of Public Health designed a study to try to answer those questions.
The researchers studied the records of 5,635 participants in the Health and Retirement Study, an ongoing investigation of people who were 50 or older and had provided information on their reading habits when the study began. They determined that people who read books regularly had a 20% lower risk of dying over the next 12 years compared with people who weren’t readers or who read periodicals. This difference remained regardless of race, education, state of health, wealth, marital status, and depression. These findings, which were published in the September 2016 issue of Social Science & Medicine, suggest that the benefits of reading books may include a longer life in which to read them.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Women’s Health
Diseases & Conditions
Exercise & Fitness
© 2021 by The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Do not sell my personal information | Privacy Policy
Thanks for visiting. Don’t miss your FREE gift.
The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School
Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.
Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School
Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.
BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness
Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.
Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.