Good news, bookworms. In addition to helping with stress, boosting your intelligence and even increasing your empathy, reading books is also associated with yet another benefit: a longer life.
Research from Yale University found that of more than 3,600 people surveyed, bookworms were 20% less likely to die over the next 12 years, even after controlling for factors such as gender, education and cognitive ability.
Although reading newspapers and magazines is still good for the mind, the research found that reading books engages the brain and encourages longevity in a more impactful way than periodicals do, likely due to the greater length and depth of books.
The participants in the study were all at least 50 years old, but varied widely in their economic, marital, employment and educational statuses. The research found that, on average, book readers lived 23 months longer than non-book readers, which held true for all types of participants, regardless of their gender or socioeconomic status.
Reading books also has proven benefits for children that last into adulthood, which is why the Scripps Howard Foundation has launched a literacy campaign called “If You Give a Child a Book.” The foundation raises money and, in a partnership with Scholastic Book Fairs, purchases and provides books to children in need through local nonprofit organizations.
In partnership with Title 1 schools, Scripps’ local television stations and national networks aim to provide 10 age-appropriate and culturally relevant books per year to underserved and vulnerable children. Experts say reading 10 books a year helps children improve their reading skills. The campaign will distribute its millionth book to children in need during the 2022-2023 school year.
You can help by donating online. For every $5 donation, the Fund gives one book to a child in need.
Ready to read more — right now? Before you reach for that e-reader, consider this. Real Simple points out that there are a number of science-backed reasons to opt for a real book rather than one on a screen. Benefits to reading a printed book include increased intelligence and brain power, an improved ability to relate to others, improved understanding and retention of what you’ve read, better sleep and increased relaxation and even a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
So if you’re looking to have a long and fruitful life, you might want to swap those Netflix hours for some time snuggled up with a good, old-fashioned book!
Simplemost — in partnership with our audiences, our parent company, The E.W. Scripps Company, and the Scripps Howard Foundation — is helping to put books into the hands of kids who need them most as part of the 2022 “If You Give A Child A Book …” campaign. To give, you can make a donation here. The campaign will distribute its 1 millionth book during the 2022-2023 academic school year to kids in need.